Capella Space, an information services company providing Earth observation data on demand, unveiled its evolved satellite design to enable on-demand observations of anywhere on Earth.  Informed by extensive customer feedback and findings from the launch of Denali, Capella’s testbed satellite, the re-engineered design features a suite of technological innovations to deliver timely, flexible and frequent sub-0.5 meter images to the market. 

The satellite evolution is a direct result of customer feedback, extensive on-orbit testing with Capella’s first testbed satellite Denali, as well as ground-based testing.  Enhancements include:

•     Advanced design delivering high contrast, low-noise, sub-0.5 meter imagery

•     Extended duty cycle: on-orbit duty cycle 10 minutes per orbit

•     Continuous imaging over long distance: continuous imaging of up to 4,000-km-long strip images

•     Highly agile platform:  adjusts pointing to collect images from diverse targets

•     Staring spotlight image mode: enhances image quality

•     Enhanced data downlink rate: average data rate downlink of 1.2 Gbps

•     Real-time tasking: secure encrypted two-way link with Inmarsat.

The new satellite design cemented deals with multiple divisions of the U.S. government, including a contract with the United States Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).  The technological enhancements will be embedded in Capella’s next six commercial satellites, named the “Whitney” constellation, starting with the launch of Sequoia slated for March of 2020.  The Sequoia satellite is currently completing system level tests and will arrive at the launch site in early March.

Capella is also licensed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its 36 small satellite constellation, along with approval to sell the highest resolution legally allowed SAR commercial imagery to customers globally.


Image courtesy NASA.