Planet Federal Signs Contract Extension With National Reconnaissance Office

SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PR) — Today, we are excited to share that our wholly owned subsidiary, Planet Federal, expanded our contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to provide the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community with continued access to Planet’s daily, unclassified satellite data. This contract modification expands NRO’s current access to now include monitoring over new areas of interest. 

The extension also includes continued integration efforts to make Planet’s deep archive – dating back to 2009 – and daily satellite data, available to NRO users through their Commercial GEOINT Integration (CGI) architecture. While Planet’s high-resolution SkySat data is already available through the CGI architecture, incorporating our medium-resolution PlanetScope data into the same system enables faster decision-making by providing users with data in a more user-friendly fashion. 

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BlackSky Reports Net Loss of $46.9 Million

3rd Quarter Revenue Up Over 49% YoY
On a Year to Date Basis, Total Revenue up over 53%

HERNDON, Va., November 12, 2021 (BlackSky PR) — BlackSky Technology Inc. (“BlackSky” or the “Company”) (NYSE: BKSY), a leading technology platform providing real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring, today announced its results for the third quarter of 2021.

Key points from the third quarter include:

  • Revenue of $7.9 million, up 49% from 3Q 2020
  • Net loss of $46.9 million or a loss of $0.67 per diluted share
  • Adjusted EBITDA loss of $16.2 million
  • Cash balance at the end of 3Q 2021 was $198 million
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Capella Space To Become First Commercial SAR Company to Demonstrate Compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture

Capella satellites will use laser communications from Mynaric to  rapidly send and receive data

SAN FRANCISCO, November 9, 2021 (Capella Space PR) — Capella Space today announced the company will become the first commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) supplier to demonstrate Optical Inter-Satellite Link (OISL) compatibility with the U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA)’s new NDSA. SAR data is a highly valuable asset for the SDA and the U.S. Department of Defense. The next generation of Capella’s persistent SAR monitoring capabilities will leverage new technology that enables high delivery speeds and direct access to its 24/7 all-weather data for U.S. Government customers.

Capella Space will install optical communications terminals (OCTs) on its commercial SAR satellites, starting in late 2022. This will enable the company to utilize highly efficient laser communications technology to send and receive data to and from its satellites in low Earth orbit, relaying data to compatibly equipped government satellites and military operations on the ground. The integration of OCTs onto Capella’s SAR constellation will drastically reduce latency from image collect to download and ensure spaceborne data is quickly available to inform critical decision-making for terrestrial missions.

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NRO Director Announces New Commercial Acquisition Opportunity at GEOINT Symposium

ST. LOUIS, Mo.  (NRO PR) –  The annual United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) symposium kicked off Tuesday, Oct. 5 in St. Louis, Mo. The four-day event is the largest annual gathering of GEOINT professionals across the United States. This year’s theme is Discovery and Connections, and will focus on “examining the exponential increase of geospatial data sources, advanced analytic capabilities, new innovative solutions, interoperability, and much more.”

NRO’s director, Dr. Chris Scolese, opened day two of the symposium with a keynote address before the large crowd of government, academia, and commercial partners. Dr. Scolese was introduced by Retired Lieutenant General Mary A. Legere, the former Senior Intelligence Officer for the U.S. Army and the current Managing Director at Accenture Federal Services. Dr. Scolese began his keynote by noting the vibrant and congested arena space has become, adding, “We no longer have the luxury of treating our advantage in space as a given.”

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Colorado Congressional Delegation Asks Air Force Secretary to Suspend Move of US Space Command to Alabama

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The eight-member Colorado Congressional delegation has asked U.S. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall to suspend all activities related to the move of the U.S. Space Command (USSPACECOM) from Colorado Springs to the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. pending the completion of two on-going reviews.

“This move undermines our ability to respond to the threats in space and is disruptive to the current mission. Additionally, significant evidence exists that the former president’s political considerations influenced the final decision to relocate USSPACECOM to Redstone Arsenal. As such, we urge you to formally suspend any actions to relocate the USSPACECOM headquarters until the Department of Defense Inspector General (DoD IG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have completed their respective investigations into the basing decision and you complete your review,” the delegation said in a Sept. 30 letter to Kendall.

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HySpecIQ Announces Investment by Peter Thiel

HERNDON, Va. (HySpecIQ PR) — HySpecIQ, a satellite-powered hyperspectral analytics company, today announced the closing of Series B funding by venture capitalist Peter Thiel. The investment accelerates the development of a twelve satellite constellation to deliver hyperspectral imagery with unprecedented resolution and global reach. HySpecIQ’s analytics platform is specifically designed to transform hyperspectral imaging data into actionable insights to help address some of the world’s most critical and complex problems.

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NRO Expands BlackSky Commercial Imagery for Security, Defense and Intelligence

HERNDON, Va. (BlackSky PR) – BlackSky Holdings, Inc. (“BlackSky”), a leading technology platform providing real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring, today announced that it has been awarded a contract modification from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to provide on-demand satellite imagery through a monthly subscription. The requirements and funding for this effort will be transferred to NRO’s Electro-Optical Commercial Layer program.

BlackSky’s high-resolution satellite constellation will generate imagery for defense and intelligence communities to support homeland defense, national security, disaster and emergency response missions. BlackSky’s real-time imagery offers timely and relevant information on pattern-of-life anomalies that meet critical mission requirements and enable warfighters to make informed decisions.

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Launch 2020: U.S. Reclaimed Top Spot, Flew Astronauts Again from American Soil

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The United States reclaimed the top spot in launches from China last year as NASA astronauts flew into orbit from American soil for the first time in nearly nine years, SpaceX deployed the world’s first satellite mega-constellation with reused rockets, and two new launchers debuted with less than stellar results.

American companies conducted 44 launches in 2020, with 40 successes and four failures. Bryce Tech reports that U.S. companies accounted for 32 of the 41 commercial launches conducted last year. The majority of those flights were conducted by SpaceX, which launched 25 orbital missions.

China came in second with a record of 35 successful launches and four failures. The 39 launch attempts tied that nation’s previous record for flights during a calendar year.

Let’s take a closer look at what U.S. companies achieved last year.

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Northrop Grumman Successfully Launches Minotaur I Rocket for the National Reconnaissance Office

The Minotaur I rocket was launched from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility. (Credit: Northrop Grumman)

Flight extends flawless record of Minotaur product line to 28 missions

WALLOPS, Va. – June 15, 2021 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) launched its Minotaur I rocket today at 9:35 a.m. EDT, successfully placing a National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) payload into orbit. The Minotaur I was launched from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0B at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

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How to Watch the Minotaur Launch From Wallops Island

Credit: NASA

WALLOPS, Va. (NASA PR) — Get up early June 15, grab a cup of coffee and watch the rise of Northrop Grumman’s Minotaur 1 rocket as it’s launched into space from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The rocket carrying three national security payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), is scheduled for launch at 7 a.m. June 15, from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s (MARS) Pad 0B on Wallops Island. The U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise is providing the launch services for this mission.

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United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-82 Mission to Support National Security

A ULA Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the NROL-82 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office lifts off from Space Launch Complex-6 at 1:47 p.m. PDT on April 26, 2021. (Credit: United Launch Alliance)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., April 26, 2021 (ULA PR) – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle carrying the NROL-82 mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) lifted off from Space Launch Complex-6 on April 26 at 1:47 p.m. PDT. To date ULA has launched 143 times with 100 percent mission success.

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Delta IV Heavy, Chinese Space Station Launches on Tap for This Week

A Delta IV Heavy launches the NROL-44 satellite. (Credit: ULA)

The month of April is concluding with a string of launches from Russia, the United States, China and South America. Things kicked off on Friday with SpaceX’s launch of Crew-2 to the International Space Station (ISS). On Sunday, a Russian Soyuz rocket launched 36 OneWeb satellite broadband spacecraft from the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia’s Far East.

One of the final United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rockets is scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Monday afternoon. That flight will be followed by the fifth launch of China’s Long March 6 booster. Launches by Europe’s Vega and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rockets are scheduled over the next two days.

China will close out the month on Thursday by launching Tianhe-1 core module for that nation’s first permanent space station aboard a Long March 5B booster.

The full schedule for the week is below.

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Final RS-68A Engine for Delta IV Heavy Completes Hot-fire Acceptance Test

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RS-68A rocket engine successfully completed its final acceptance test April 12, 2021, on the B-1 test stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The RS-68A powers the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket to send critical spacecraft into orbit. (Credit: NASA Stennis)

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. (Aerojet Rocketdyne PR) — Today (April 12), the world’s most powerful hydrogen-fueled rocket engine built by Aerojet Rocketdyne, the RS-68A, completed its final hot-fire acceptance test for use on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV Heavy launch vehicle on the B-1 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

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SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches NRO Payload in Record 26th Successful Flight of Year

Falcon 9 launches the NROL-108 mission on Dec. 19, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX webcast)

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (SpaceX PR) — On Saturday, December 19 at 9:00 a.m. EST, Falcon 9 launched the NROL-108 mission from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center, Florida, completing SpaceX’s 26th and final mission of 2020.

Falcon 9’s first stage booster previously supported launch of SpaceX’s 19th and 20th cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station, a Starlink mission, and the SAOCOM 1B mission.

Following stage separation, SpaceX landed Falcon 9’s first stage on Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida – the 70th landing for SpaceX.

Editor’s Note: SpaceX’s 26 launches is a new record for Elon Musk’s company in a calendar year. It was America’s 44th and final orbital launch attempt of the year. That is the highest number in more than 50 years.

Overall, there have been 110 launch attempts with 10 failures worldwide. Two more launches — Long March 8 from China, and a Soyuz-2 from Kourou — are scheduled before the end of the year. It’s possible China or Russia could conduct additional launches; these countries don’t always announce flights very far in advance.

HawkEye 360 Supporting RF GEOINT Pilot Program for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Credit: HawkEye 360

Pilot program explores how commercial RF geospatial data can augment NGA and United States combatant command intelligence activities

Herndon, Virginia (December 16, 2020) — HawkEye 360 Inc. is supporting a commercial radio frequency (RF) geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) pilot program for the United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), using its constellation of formation flying satellites to deliver RF data and analytics to the agency and combatant commands so analysts can explore how this new source of commercial data can augment intelligence activities.

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