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Spaceflight BlackSky Spectra imagery
An image from BlackSky Spectra displays visible-light imagery, synthetic aperture radar readings and infrared data over Panama City and the Miraflores Locks. The imagery comes from Airbus Pléiades, Airbus TerraSAR-X and USGS Landsat. (Spaceflight Industries Photo)

Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries lifted the curtain on another satellite imaging service today: BlackSky Spectra, a Web-based platform that knits together pictures in a wide range of wavelengths, from visible light and infrared to radar imagery.

The on-demand service lets users easily search through more than 25 million archival images – and order up fresh pictures – from a multispectral, multinational squadron of satellites.

“BlackSky is transforming how we look at the world by integrating the widest variety of sensors into a revolutionary, easy-to-use service,” Jason Andrews, CEO of Spaceflight Industries, said today in a news release. “Increasing our capacity to take images and expanding the data set enables organizations to understand our changing world like never before.”

The new satellites in the BlackSky network include Airbus’ Pléiades, SPOT6/7, KazEOSat-1 and TerraSAR-X. They join 21AT’s TripleSat, SIIS’s KOMPSAT2/3/3A/5 and UrtheCast’s Deimos-2 on BlackSky’s menu.

Customers can use BlackSky Spectra to order imagery for a given location at specified times and wavelengths. Spaceflight Industries laid out a sample scenario: Suppose a humanitarian agency wanted to key into an island hard-hit by a typhoon. Archival imagery can help the agency identify transportation hubs and population centers, fresh satellite pictures can pinpoint the damage, and radar imagery can reveal the lay of the land even at night or under a cloud cover.

Airbus’ Pléiades satellites can deliver panchromatic (black-and-white) pictures with 0.5-meter resolution and multispectral imagery at 2-meter resolution. SPOT provides extensive coverage with resolutions down to 1.5 meters. KazEOSat-1 produces multispectral and panchromatic views at resolutions as fine as 1 meter. And TerraSAR-X takes advantage of synthetic aperture radar.

Spaceflight Industries’ BlackSky subsidiary also offers real-time data feeds that are linked to satellite imagery, plus pictures from its own Pathfinder-1 satellite, which was launched last September. By 2020, BlackSky expects to have a 60-satellite constellation in orbit, providing near-real-time imagery of anywhere on Earth at 1-meter resolution.

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