Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

Satellogic, the Earth observation firm, reported on January 19 that it had signed a deal with SpaceX comprising several deployments of its satellites by next year. The numerous launch services deal makes SpaceX Satellogic the favored provider to deploy its microsatellite constellation, having previously relied on European, Chinese, and Russian vehicles, such as launching 10 satellite systems as the primary payload the Long March 6, November 5. In an interview, the low costs and regular launch prospects provided by SpaceX prompted his firm to sign up, Emiliano Kargieman, chief executive of Satellogic, stated.

“The new rideshare system which SpaceX has been able to put together has dropped the cost on a per-kilogram level by 4 or 5 times,” he added. “That really enabled the rideshare platform to remain competitive in the market really well and caused us to begin talking with the SpaceX.” Satellogic intends to carry out the next four SpaceX missions, beginning in June. In December, March, and June of the year 2022, further launches will occur. It will all be sun-synchronous orbit rideshare flights, with a minimum of four satellites launching in June. By the conclusion of the year 2022, the firm, which currently has 13 operating satellites, aims to have a constellation of around 60 satellites.

The firm also has the possibility of flying satellites on Starlink missions as rideshare payloads. These will go to orbits of the mid-inclination, which Kargieman stated would supplement the constellation’s bulk in orbits of sun-synchronous. “In times of revisiting areas of interest, they offer us additional diversity,” he said, adding that the organization has one satellite within such an orbit. “In the next 12 to18 months, we are planning into launching more mid-inclination satellites; however, we have not yet determined precisely when those releases will be.”

Another advantage of the deal, he said, is the versatility it provides to decide the number of satellites to fly, as well as choices for the Starlink mission flying satellites. “It allows us the opportunity to make those choices closer to the day of launch.” Although SpaceX is the chosen launch provider for Satellogic, Kargieman did not frequently rule out other companies being used. “We might also try to fire a dedicated rocket once in a while to ensure we have the satellites exactly where we want them since we might require a precise orbit,” he stated.

Satellogic is witnessing a huge market from government clients in particular for the high-resolution imagery that its satellites provide, he added, with the demand increasing in the last year. “It is very evident on the side of the government that there has been a substantial unmet need,” he stated.  “The demand for the earth observation data as well as geospatial analytics has intensified the pandemic.”

By Adam