Capella Space will provision the first phase of their smallsat constellation with attitude control systems from Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT), a turnkey provider of spacecraft and subsystems for government, commercial, and academic applications. BCT will deliver the first batch of systems later this year, with full delivery of 12 precision pointing platforms built on the company's FleXcore product by mid-2020.
After the success of its first satellite, Denali, which served as a test bed for calibrating on-orbit operations, Capella is enhancing the design of its satellite to offer higher resolution and greater flexibility in image acquisition. The Whitney constellation, which will begin deployment in 2020, will feature 0.5 meter resolution at significantly lower cost than traditional systems. Whitney is the first phase of the company's build-out of a 36 satellite synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation, capable of revisiting any point on Earth within an hour.
Blue Canyon's FleXcore system is a high-performance, cost-efficient modular ADCS platform that's scalable to a wide range of bus sizes and mission requirements. BCT's ADCS Systems have flown on a variety of small satellites, including micro-sat spacecraft, and was first put on-orbit in 2016. FleXcore offers customers flexible mission solutions by using standard commercial products in the BCT component line to achieve unique mission requirements.
BCT will execute the order from the company's 54,000 square foot facility in Boulder, Colorado, adding Capella to the company's list of over 60 missions on-orbit supported by the best-in-class systems. BCT is expected to begin shipping finished systems the fall of 2019. Capella will launch Sequoia, its first imaging mission, for advance bookings, later this year.
While terms of the contract were not disclosed, Payam Banazadeh, the CEO and Founder of Capella Space, indicated that the company has other orders pending and that the company is hiring a range of engineering positions to help the company meet a larger than anticipated demand for data and monitoring services.
Payam said that the race to rapid revisit is on... The next generation of satellite the company puts up will be among the most agile in LEO, capable of a range of operating modes and ground resolutions that will make a big difference in the quality and quantity of data we can provide our customers. As the firm scales from building a single satellite at a time to producing an entire fleet in short order, BCT offers a superior combination of performance, scale and affordability to pull forward the company's launch schedule.