Thales Alenia Space, Telespazio and Spaceflight Industries Finalize Alliance to Manufacture Smallsats at Scale and Deliver Innovative Geospatial Services
Washington, D.C., March 13, 2018 – At the Satellite 2018 conference, The Space Alliance formed by Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%) and Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%) announced today it has officially taken a minority stake in Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, having received all government approvals for the transaction.
This investment is part of an overall fundraising effort of $150 million from several sources which include The Space Alliance, existing investors, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., one of the largest general trading companies in Japan. With this latest funding, Spaceflight Industries has raised more than $200 million in total capital.
BlackSky, the geospatial intelligence company of Spaceflight Industries, is now fulfilling its vision to deploy a high revisit rate earth imaging constellation which, when combined with other space and terrestrial based sensors, will enable delivery of innovative global monitoring solutions and geospatial activity-based intelligence products and services. BlackSky’s first four Global next-generation satellites are slated to launch in the next 12 months. This round of funding ensures production and launch of an additional 20 Global satellites which are planned to be in orbit by 2020. These smallsats will generate revenues that will enable the production and launch of the full 60 satellite constellation.
In conjunction with the investment, Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries are creating a Seattle-based industrial joint venture (owned 50% by Spaceflight Industries and 50% by Thales Alenia Space) which will be responsible for manufacturing cost-effective, high-performance small satellites at scale, including the 20 satellites for the BlackSky constellation. The new company, named LeoStella LLC, will start operation this year. It will provide a unique capability for the US market as well as the fast growing low earth orbit constellations. The executive team is being formed from both Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space, as well as other leading organizations.
Finally, BlackSky and Telespazio have signed a joint cooperation and marketing agreement to distribute each other’s products and services, as well as co-develop, brand, and market unique applications and services. Under the agreement, Telespazio will sell BlackSky products and services within Europe to key government customers.
The Earth Observation market is undergoing constant changes, with increasing requirements in terms of both high resolution and much shorter revisit times. Thales Alenia Space, Spaceflight Industries and Telespazio are combining their strengths to offer a constellation of small satellites that will be deployed in conjunction with a smart ground segment to offer services at very competitive prices by calling on massive and automated data/image processing. The result is a disruptive product, designed not only for traditional customers in the commercial observation market, but also to support the development of new vertical B2B markets, such as mining, energy, transport, finance, agriculture, manufacturing and environmental monitoring, and even B2C applications.
About Thales Alenia Space
Combining 40 years of experience and a unique diversity of expertise, talents and cultures, Thales Alenia Space architects design and deliver high technology solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments, institutions and companies rely on Thales Alenia Space to design, operate and deliver satellite-based systems that help them position and connect anyone or anything, everywhere, help observe our planet, help optimize the use of our planet’s – and our solar system’s – resources. Thales Alenia Space believes in space as humankind’s new horizon, which will enable to build a better, more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space also teams up with Telespazio to form the parent companies’ Space Alliance, which offers a complete range of services and solutions. Thales Alenia Space posted consolidated revenues of about 2.6 billion euros in 2017 and has 7,980 employees in nine countries. www.thalesaleniaspace.com
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