Brian O’Toole, CEO of BlackSky and President of Spaceflight Industries, discusses the details of the pending sale of the Spaceflight launch division.

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On Tuesday, Feb. 11, Spaceflight Industries, the parent company to both BlackSky and Spaceflight, announced the definitive agreement to sell Spaceflight, its rideshare launch services division, to Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd., in partnership with Yamasa Co., Ltd. Brian O’Toole shares more details on the deal below and what this development means for BlackSky.

Why did Spaceflight Industries decide to move forward with the sale of the rideshare launch business?

The teams at Spaceflight and BlackSky have been committed to making space more accessible to organizations globally; through comprehensive geospatial intelligence offerings and innovative rideshare launch services. I’m thrilled by the success the businesses have achieved over the last several years. When evaluating this opportunity, the sale of the launch business seemed like a natural next step that will enable both BlackSky and the Spaceflight launch business to take strategic steps towards the next phases of growth.

At BlackSky, we have several exciting milestones on the horizon, including the continued launch of additional satellites in the first half of this year. These additional satellites will bolster our Earth observation constellation. We’ll also explore different ways to advance our geospatial intelligence platform through technological enhancements and new partnerships that will enable us to offer customers a more comprehensive service. Our talented team at BlackSky is building a service that will uncover and deliver actionable insights to customers on demand.

How will BlackSky benefit from this change?

The capital secured through the sale of the rideshare launch business will accelerate BlackSky’s growth. We plan to invest this into BlackSky’s core offering so we can continue to provide our customers with the most comprehensive global monitoring services.

Our team is committed to our vision of delivering an innovative service that uncovers insights that help decision makers make more informed choices. To successfully achieve this mission, we need to develop and invest in a scalable infrastructure. Space is a capital-intensive business, and this will certainly support BlackSky’s development. We’re committed to continuous growth and advancement, so our customers have access to a premier geospatial intelligence service.

Will BlackSky continue to work with Spaceflight for upcoming launches?

Our relationship with the Spaceflight rideshare launch business is a foundational element to BlackSky’s continued success. Spaceflight will continue to be our “go to” launch service provider. Spaceflight’s depth of knowledge and experience is well documented and offers us a distinct advantage over other rideshare and launch vendors. Because Spaceflight offers the most diverse portfolio of launch options, they will continue to be a key partner, supporting our missions. In fact, our next launch is on a dedicated mission procured by Spaceflight aboard NSIL’s new Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in India.

What’s next for BlackSky?

The biggest milestone on the horizon is the launch of the next eight satellites this year, expanding our Earth observation constellation. This deal is an exciting way to begin the year and is setting the stage for what will be a year of growth, innovation and success!