Capella Space Closes $19M of Funding, Prepares for Launch
Capella Space, an aerospace and information services company providing on-demand Earth observation data, closed $19 million Series B funding led by Spark Capital and DCVC (Data Collective) and joined by Mark VC and Harmony Partners, among other investors. This will finance the first operational launches of the company’s cloud-penetrating, radar-powered small satellites, designed to deliver high-quality imaging anywhere and under any condition.
Capella’s satellite, the size of a backpack on launch, combines an origami-like antenna that unfolds to almost 100 square feet with efficient electronics that effectively deliver the same image quality as radar satellites the size of a school bus, according to the release. The first Capella test satellite launch is scheduled for November 2018 ahead of next year’s first operational launches of a planned 36-satellite constellation that will deliver global images, in under an hour.
Capella Space is the first private U.S. company to develop small Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites for the commercial market. Capella’s design lies at the heart of the company’s long-term strategy to rapidly establish a symmetrical 12-plane, high-revisit constellation that will produce more SAR images than the entire industry combined, at greater speed and lower cost.
Traditional electro-optical satellites can only monitor 25 percent of the planet at any time. By bouncing microwave pulses off targets and measuring reflected energy, Capella’s radar technology sees through all weather conditions and at night to capture high-resolution images, quadrupling access to the visible world. Capella can uniquely detect and track changes in the position of metal objects, as well also penetrate the ground to see hidden assets.