An international space venture called Satellogic says it will have 90 satellites launched by a Chinese company to create an Earth-observing constellation.
The first launch by the China Great Wall Industry Corp. under the newly announced deal, scheduled for later this year, will deliver 13 satellites to low Earth orbit on China’s Long March 6 rocket, Satellogic said today in a news release.
Satellogic’s constellation seems likely to compete with the remote-imaging satellite constellations operated by San Francisco-based Planet and Seattle-based BlackSky. The company promises to remap Earth at 1-meter pixel resolution every week and dramatically reduce the cost of high-frequency geospatial analytics.
“We want to help solve the world’s most pressing problems by building an accurate and up-to-date picture of our planet and the many forces that reshape it every day,” Satellogic founder and CEO Emiliano Kargieman said. “This agreement is a major step in realizing that vision.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
China Great Wall was established in 1980 with authorization from the Chinese government to provide commercial launch services and satellite systems as a subsidiary of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. The company has already launched a demonstration nanosatellite for Satellogic, as well as five larger satellites, and it’s due to send three more spacecraft into low Earth orbit this year under the terms of an earlier agreement.
“We’re proud to extend our highly successful working relationship with Satellogic,” Gao Ruofei, executive vice president of China Great Wall, said in today’s news release. “Satellogic’s constellation will introduce a new era of affordable Earth observation, just as the LM-6 will open new opportunities for the global space industry.”
U.S.-based satellite operators are generally barred from having their payloads launched on Chinese rockets. However, Satellogic’s headquarters and development facility is located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and its satellite assembly facility is in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The company also has a data technology center in Barcelona, Spain; a product development center in Tel Aviv, Israel; and a business development center in Miami. Satellogic’s newest branch office, in Beijing, will focus on constellation customization, data services and industrial applications.
Satellogic says it employs more than 150 satellite engineers, solution specialists and experts in artificial intelligence. In 2017, the company raised $27 million in a Series B funding round led by Tencent, a Chinese investment holding company.
Like Planet and BlackSky, Satellogic is targeting satellite imaging applications in fields such as disaster response, oil and gas prospecting, infrastructure monitoring, forestry and agricultural crop assessment.