Workers assemble BlackSky’s Global-1 Earth observation satellite. (BlackSky via YouTube)
It’s official: After receiving all government approvals, a French-Italian joint venture has taken a minority stake in Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries as part of a $150 million funding round.
The French and Italian partners in The Space Alliance, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, have also joined in two cooperative arrangements with Spaceflight Industries.
One of the arrangements is a new Seattle-based joint venture called LeoStella LLC. Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries each own 50 percent of the venture. LeoStella will manufacture low-cost, high-performance satellites for Spaceflight Industries’ geospatial intelligence business unit, BlackSky.
Just last week, BlackSky announced that its first Earth observation satellite, Global-1, has been cleared for launch. Four Global-class satellites are slated to be put in low Earth orbit in the next 12 months. LeoStella will be tasked with building 20 more of the spacecraft between now and 2020.
The other arrangement is a cooperation and marketing agreement under which BlackSky and Telespazio will distribute each other’s products and services, and potentially create new applications and services jointly. The pact provides for Telespazio to sell BlackSky products and services within Europe to key government customers.
The complicated roadmap ...