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Capella Unveils Design for its Sequoia SAR Satellite 

By Rachel Jewett | January 21, 2020

      A rendering of Capella’s new satellite design. Photo: Capella Space

      Capella Space unveiled on Tuesday the features of its “Sequoia” Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite designed for on-demand Earth observation. The satellite is a re-engineering of Capella’s test satellite Denali, which was launched in December 2018. 

      Sequoia’s features include: A 3.5 meter deployed mesh-based reflector antenna combined with a high power RADAR to deliver high contrast, low-noise sub-0.5 meter imagery; a deployed 400 W solar array to increase the on-orbit duty cycle to 10 minutes per orbit; a thermal management system that allows for continuous imaging of up to 2485 miles; and a secure encrypted two-way link with Inmarsat through a partnership with Addvalue for real time tasking capability. 

      Capella plans to launch six commercial satellites with these enhancements for its “Whitney” constellation. The first of which, Sequoia, will be launched this march. Capella said the Sequoia satellite is currently completing system level tests and will arrive at the launch site in early March.

      “Our customers have spoken: today’s industry standard of waiting eight hours to receive data is woefully outdated. They want access to imagery that is reliable, timely and, most importantly, high-quality,” said Christian Lenz, vice president of engineering at Capella Space. “The innovations packed into our small satellite make Capella the first and only SAR provider to provide real-time tasking and capture of sub-0.5m very high-quality imagery anywhere on Earth at any time.”

      A Via Satellite interview with Capella Space CEO Payam Banazadeh will be posted later this week. Stay tuned!