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BlackSky platform shows Aleppo
BlackSky’s online imaging platform can link a satellite view of the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo to real-time social media streams about the area to provide greater context. (Spaceflight Industries Graphic)

BlackSky, a division of Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries, has been awarded a two-year, $16.4 million cost-plus prime contract with the Air Force Research Laboratory to deliver a cloud-based platform that can provide geospatial intelligence to government agencies.

The platform will provide on-demand analytics, collection and information services from global data sources, including satellite imagery, Spaceflight Industries said today in a news release.

“BlackSky is proud to have the opportunity to partner with the Air Force and U.S. government stakeholders on the development of leading-edge anticipatory analytics and commercial GEOINT brokering capabilities,” said Brian O’Toole, BlackSky’s executive vice president and chief technology officer of BlackSky.

O’Toole noted that “easy access and streamlined delivery of timely and relevant insights about our changing world is essential to faster and more informed decision making.”

BlackSky already fields a cloud-based software platform that blends satellite imagery with other data sources, including social media postings. The platform was put to the test last year in a pilot project that helped international agencies monitor the crisis in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Within the platform, users can access BlackSky Spectra’s on-demand imagery service to order up visual imagery and multispectral readings from a global data collection network. They can also subscribe to BlackSky Events, a monitoring service that draws upon news reports, social media, industry data services and physical sensor networks.

BlackSky is building out its own constellation of Earth-imaging satellites. The first satellite, Pathfinder-1, was launched last September. By 2020, BlackSky aims to have as many as 60 satellites in low Earth orbit, providing high-resolution images on an on-demand, quick-turnaround basis.

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