We are pleased to report a successful launch of Pathfinder-1 and the subsequent first communication!
Watch the video below to see our ops team receive the first signal, and then the first data.
Jason Andrews, CEO of Spaceflight Industries, reflects on this achievement:
This is one more milestone in a string of milestones for our nascent NewSpace community. Building and launching an imaging satellite is a massive accomplishment for any company, and we are proud to stand alongside those who came before us, including Planet and Google/Terra Bella. This is the dawn of a new era in global insight and understanding. In the span of a few weeks, we have seen spacecraft from Planet, Google/Terra Bella, ourselves and soon Digital Globe orbit new capabilities. This is the beginning of the next geospatial revolution. The on-orbit demonstration of the BlackSky Pathfinder spacecraft validates the future vision of real-time global observation and understanding. Specifically, BlackSky’s Pathfinder spacecraft is unique and revolutionary in its size, cost and performance. By comparison, Digital Globe’s WorldView 4 spacecraft — which has truly impressive resolution and spectral diversity — weighs 2,500 kg and costs $750M to put on orbit. Pathfinder represents the pinnacle in rethinking spacecraft design and economics. Our spacecraft, complete with propulsion system and high gain communications, can provide high resolution (1 meter) imagery in a 50 kg package that will fit in a middle seat on a commercial airplane – all for less than $7.5M on orbit. It’s this unique combination of size, cost and performance that enables us to orbit a constellation of 60 spacecraft for less than the cost of a single Digital Globe spacecraft.