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Water to Propel BlackSky and LeoStella Satellites

By | April 3, 2018
Deep Space Industries' Comet water-based propulsion system. Photo: Deep Space Industries.

Deep Space Industries’ Comet water-based propulsion system. Photo: Deep Space Industries.

Deep Space Industries announced it has signed a contract to provide its Comet water-based satellite propulsion systems for the BlackSky Earth Observation (EO) constellation of smallsats. DSI will provide an initial block of 20 water thrusters for the BlackSky satellites, which are scheduled to start launching later this year.

The announcement comes on the heels of Spaceflight Industries’ recent $150 million funding and the development of LeoStella, a joint venture between Spaceflight Industries and Thales Alenia Space. LeoStella is developing a Seattle-based facility to manufacture the BlackSky satellites and is tasked with building the next 20 spacecraft with the Comet propulsion technology between now and 2020. These smallsats are part of an ultimate constellation of 60 satellites that provide high revisit rate Earth imagery, and when combined with other space and terrestrial based sensors, will enable delivery of global monitoring solutions and geospatial activity-based intelligence services, according to the company.

Comet is the first propulsion system in Deep Space Industries’ line of green propulsion solutions designed for small satellites. While most propulsion systems use either high-pressure or toxic propellants, Comet propulsion systems are designed to be low-pressure, non-toxic, and launch-safe, while still offering suitable performance for small satellites. Furthermore, and in the context of the company’s longer-term goals, all its propulsion systems use propellants that can be sourced from space resources.