WASHINGTON — Spaceflight Inc., which arranges and supports launches of microsatellites aboard various rockets, is getting into the small-satellite operations business, the company announced July 30.
The Seattle-based firm, founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Jason Andrews, is setting up a new division called Spaceflight Networks, a provider of communications and data services for operators of small satellites.
Spaceflight appears to be targeting any number of startups seeking to leverage increasingly capable small-satellite constellations for a variety of commercial applications.
“As small-satellite use and popularity continues to grow, the challenge for operators has shifted from gaining space access to retrieving satellite data in a cost-effective, timely manner,” Spaceflight President Curt Blake said in a prepared statement. “Spaceflight Networks tackles this emerging market need head-on, with an out-of-the-box, convenient communications solution for small-satellite customers seeking the most comprehensive global coverage at the best possible price.”
Spaceflight Networks aims to create a global network of ground stations to provide fast and frequent satellite uplink and downlink services at what the company said are below market rates. “We have sighted each of our stations to minimize communications latency thereby maximizing constellation throughput,” Blake said.
The first Spaceflight Networks station is slated to become operational during the first quarter of 2015 in Washington state, the company said. Additional stations are expected to come on line later in 2015 and in subsequent years, the company said.
Customers will be able to choose from a list of spacecraft radios and data plans, much like cellular telephone services operate today, the company said. The company plans to offer satellite operations support as a standalone service or as a package with launch ride-share services.