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Satellogic Claims Leadership in EO Capture Capability After Long March 6 Launch

By | November 9, 2020

A Chinese Long March 6 rocket delivered 10 Satellogic satellites to Sun-Synchronous Low-Earth Orbit at 3:18 a.m. UTC on Friday, November 6. It was Satellogic’s first dedicated launch and brings its fleet to 21 satellites, 14 of which are commercially operational. 

Satellogic is a vertically Earth Observation (EO) company based in Argentina. It operates a dedicated satellite constellation model, which gives state and local governments control and exclusive access to a fleet of satellites when the satellites are over their area of interest, including tasking, downloading, and processing capabilities. 

Satellogic Founder and CEO Emiliano Kargieman told Via Satellite this launch turns the company into the leader in Earth Observation and claims Satellogic now has the capability to collect more than 4 million square kilometers of data daily, which he said is more than Maxar, Planet, and Airbus combined, through a combination of a large duty cycle and a small satellite platform. 

“I think we’re the only company in the world that has the technology to collect constantly from this whole platform, like this data in high resolution and high quality,” Kargieman said. “That combination gives us an improvement in efficiency of at least an order of magnitude compared to any other small satellite competitor. With the economics on the price for our satellites in orbit, makes our solution significantly more scalable. This is just the beginning for us in the scalability of this platform. We have proven we can build and launch satellites in batches of 10.” 

Kargieman said this launch builds up Satellogic’s in-orbit capacity, and it will continue to increase that capacity over the next year in order to move into serving customers in mainstream applications for Earth Observation including agriculture, insurance, commodity trading, and infrastructure monitoring when the price point is right. 

“Governments continue to be today the largest customer. But as we continue to grow, or constellation, this will start to shift towards mainstream applications and commercial markets,” he said. 

Satellogic manufactures its satellites in Uruguay, and Kargieman said the company is looking for a second manufacturing location to scale operations. 

The Long March 6 rocket is operated by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). Kargieman said the company is now working to launch with SpaceX over the next year. Satellogic has a launch manifested for June 2021 and expects to have at least two additional launches in 2021. 

The Friday launch follows successful launches in January and the Arianespace VV16 Small Spacecraft Mission Service (SSMS) Proof of Concept (PoC) mission in September. In December 2019, Satellogic raised $50 million.