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US Air Force Investment Group Selects Orbital Sidekick for Hyperspectral Satellite Imaging Contract

By Jeffrey Hill | October 19, 2020

Orbital Sidekick hyperspectral imagery (photo by Orbital Sidekick)

Orbital Sidekick, a San Francisco-based analytics and hyperspectral payload startup, received a $16 million multi-year contract from the U.S. Air Force‘s commercial investment group, AFVentures, to accelerate the deployment of six advanced hyperspectral imaging (HSI) satellites.

The contract tasks Orbital Sidekick with utilizing edge processing capabilities and integrating its Spectral Intelligence Global Monitoring Application (SIGMA) platform with the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS). The SIGMA global monitoring service platform will give the Air Force access to Orbital Sidekick’s data archive, analytics engine, and intelligent satellite tasking system for both defense and commercial applications.

Orbital Sidekick is developing a constellation of micro-class satellites to provide advanced hyperspectral capabilities. The first of these satellites are scheduled to launch in December 2021.

“High spectral fidelity is essential for solving some of the most challenging remote sensing problems our customers face today,” said Dr. Katie Corcoran, Orbital Sidekick’s director of operations and government programs. “This new capability will allow us to offer best-in-class data products to our defense and industry end-users, enabling analytical insights not currently achievable with existing space-based imaging systems, on a global scale.”

The Air Force issued this contract to Orbital Sidekick in conjunction with the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), as part of its Strategic Financing (STRATFI) program, which matches awards with private investment funds.