Spaceflight Industries


Spaceflight Industries
Founded2009; 12 years ago (2009)
FounderJason Andrews

Spaceflight Industries, Inc. is an American private aerospace company based out of Herndon, Virginia that specializes in geospatial intelligence services.[1] It sold its satellite rideshare business, Spaceflight, Inc., in June 2020.[2]

Spaceflight Industries has two primary business services: BlackSky Global, their geospatial intelligence service, and LeoStella, a joint venture with Thales Alenia Space to manufacture small satellites.[3]


Spaceflight Industries was founded in 2009 as Spaceflight Services by Jason Andrews, with Curt Blake joining soon thereafter as SVP and General Counsel.[4] Prior to founding Spaceflight, Jason Andrews worked at Kistler Aerospace and founded Andrews Space in 1999. Jason Blake has previous experience at Microsoft, Starwave, SpaceDev, and GotVoice.[4]

Spaceflight Services purchased excess capacity from commercial launch vehicles and resold it to a number of "rideshare" secondary payloads, along with providing integration and certification services.[4] By integrating all of the secondary satellites as one discrete unit to the launch vehicle, they were able to provide a significant price discount to reach orbit compared to buying an entire launch vehicle.[5][6]

Blacksky Global was founded in 2013 as an independent company owned by Spaceflight specializing in imaging-as-a-service.[7]

Spaceflight Networks was started in 2014 to provide a network of ground stations for low-latency communication with cubesats and other small satellites.[8][9]

In 2015, Spaceflight Services, Spaceflight Systems (formerly Andrews Space), and Spaceflight Networks, were consolidated under the Spaceflight Industries brand.[10] The same year, Blacksky announced plans for a constellation of 60 satellites that would provide low-cost satellite imagery of any location on earth within 90 minutes.[11][12]

In March 2018, Spaceflight and Thales Alenia Space announced a joint venture, LeoStella, to build small satellites. LeoStella opened its production facility in February 2019.[3]

In 2020, Spaceflight Industries sold its rideshare business, Spaceflight, Inc. to Mitsui and Yamasa, in order to invest more funds in BlackSky.[2]


BlackSky, Spaceflight Industries' geospatial intelligence service, plans to offer on-demand images from a constellation of satellites.[13] Their first satellite, BlackSky Pathfinder-1, was launched on 26 September 2016, and the first pictures were released publicly on 14 November 2016.[14] In late 2018, BlackSky launched BlackSky Global-1 and BlackSky Global-2, two of the company's next generation global satellites, aboard the SSO-A mission. The company was aiming for a 60-satellite constellation, which would offer 1-meter resolution and rapid satellite revisit rates.[15] The satellite constellation was currently being built by LeoStella LLC, a joint venture between Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space.[16] BlackSky Global-3 and BlackSky Global-4 satellites were launched aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket in August 2019,[17] and BlackSky Global-7 and BlackSky Global-8 were launched in August 2020 as part of the SXRS-1 rideshare mission.[18]

In January 2020, BlackSky received a contract from the U.S. Army to prototype satellites with 50-centimeter resolution. In September 2020, they unveiled their third generation of satellites, scheduled to launch in 2022, that would provide 50-centimeter resolution imagery. They also announced that 16 of the second generation satellites would be launched before phasing in the third-generation units.[19]


  1. ^ "Spaceflight Industries About page".
  2. ^ a b "Spaceflight Industries, Inc. Completes Sale of Rideshare Business" (Press release). Herndon, Virginia: Business Wire. 12 June 2020. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  3. ^ a b Foust, Jeff (18 February 2019). "LeoStella looks for more customers as it opens satellite factory". SpaceNews. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b c "Company Experience". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Spaceflight Inc. to Fly Payloads on LauncherOne". 20 July 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Spaceflight Inc. Tapped To Find Rides for STP Satellite" SpaceNews 30 April 2012.
  7. ^ Messier, Doug (24 June 2015). "AllSource, BlackSky Form Imagery Partnership". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  8. ^ Andrews, Jason; Springmann, John; Brzytwa, Philip; Blake, Curt (4 August 2014). "Spaceflight Networks – A New Paradigm for Cost Effective Satellite Communications". Small Satellite Conference.
  9. ^ Foust, Jeff (17 July 2015). "Spaceflight Networks and Spire Partner on Smallsat Ground Network". SpaceNews. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  10. ^ Messier, Doug (3 June 2015). "Spaceflight Integrates 3 Service Lines in New Website". Parabolic Arc. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  11. ^ "Seattle firm says 60-satellite service will make Earth images faster, cheaper". The Seattle Times. 16 June 2015.
  12. ^ de Selding, Peter B. (16 June 2015). "BlackSky Global Says it's Poised To Cover Globe with 60 Smallsats". SpaceNews. Retrieved 18 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Introducing BlackSky Spectra".
  14. ^ "Hello Beautiful! Our first pictures from Pathfinder-1".
  15. ^ "BlackSky website".
  16. ^ "Thales Alenia Space, Telespazio and Spaceflight Industries Finalize Alliance to Manufacture Smallsats at Scale and Deliver Innovative Geospatial Services" (Press release). Business Wire. 13 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  17. ^ Clark, Stephen (19 August 2019). "Rocket Lab launch fulfills initial block of BlackSky Earth-imaging satellites". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  18. ^ Meyerson, Hilary (11 August 2020). "SXRS-1 Launch Success!". Spaceflight. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  19. ^ "BlackSky to add high-resolution satellites in 2022, signs deal with U.S. Army". SpaceNews. 24 September 2020. Retrieved 28 September 2020.

External links

  • Official website
  • Spaceflight service
  • BlackSky service
  • detail of payload adapter and List of payloads