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Thales partners with Spaceflight Industries to disrupt smallsat industry

Thales partners with Spaceflight Industries to disrupt smallsat industry

Stephen Kuper

A joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries is set to disrupt the global smallsat industry by producing cost-effective satellites at a new state-of-the-art smallsat production facility. 

The Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries joint venture saw the creation of LeoStella, a smallsat design and manufacturing company, which recently announced the inauguration of its production facilities.  

The first satellite produced by LeoStella will be an Earth-observation satellite for BlackSky’s constellation; it is scheduled to be completed by the end of Q1 in 2019. The company is contracted to manufacture the next 20 satellites in BlackSky’s constellation.

“With the growing number of constellations, there is a large demand for efficient smallsat production and LeoStella is uniquely positioned to address that demand,” said Chris Chautard, LeoStella CEO. 

When operating at capacity, LeoStella’s production facilities will enable the company to produce up to 30 satellites a year, ranging from Earth-observation and telecom satellites. Additionally, LeoStella has spent the last year selecting its suppliers and forming partnerships with key vendors.

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Brian O’Toole, president of Spaceflight Industries and CEO of BlackSky said, “LeoStella is positioned to disrupt the smallsat industry. The company is critical to BlackSky’s success as we work to get our constellation on orbit quickly. Part of making space more accessible is lowering all the costs associated, including the design and construction of the assets placed on orbit. LeoStella will make constellation production lean, nimble and affordable.”

Viktoria Otero Del Val, EVP strategy at Thales Alenia Space, echoed these comments, saying, “LeoStella is fully in line with Thales Alenia Space’s strategy to match the new needs for new space. It will complement and leverage its undisputed experience of mass production for constellation with its success of Globalstar, O3B and, more recently, Iridium NEXT, making Thales Alenia Space the worldwide leader for constellations.”

LeoStella is a state-of-the-art satellite design and manufacturing company transforming constellation construction by building smallsats cost-effectively and at scale. Based in Tukwila, Washington, LeoStella is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries, founded to meet the growing demand for efficient satellite manufacturing from the increasing number of constellations.

Drawing on over 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space delivers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, environmental management, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures.

Dedicated to improving our planet and society from the high vantage point of space, Spaceflight Industries’ distinct approach removes the complexities and high cost that once prohibited the majority of organisations from getting to space and observing our planet. Through its services, Spaceflight and BlackSky, the company is enabling timely and affordable access to space while redefining how we observe our planet in real time across every spectrum.

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