WASHINGTON — True Anomaly, a startup based in Denver, opened a manufacturing facility where it plans to produce small satellites designed for surveillance and reconnaissance of objects in space. 

The company on Aug. 17 unveiled the 35,000 square-foot facility in Centennial, Colorado, 

True Anomaly designed a spacecraft called Jackal aimed at the U.S. military and intelligence market. The satellite, equipped with three cameras, will be capable of performing rendezvous and proximity operations, and servicing missions, the company said. 

The first two Jackals are scheduled to launch to low Earth orbit in early 2024 on the SpaceX Transporter-10 rideshare.  

CEO Even Rogers said True Anomaly has obtained licenses from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for Jackal vehicles to perform in-space surveillance.

NOAA, FCC licenses

A commercial remote-sensing license from NOAA authorizes the company to conduct non-Earth imaging. The FCC authorized the company to conduct ground tests of Jackal transmitters and to demonstrate spacecraft-to-spacecraft rendezvous in close proximity with its two Jackal vehicles.

The non-Earth imaging license includes radar, shortwave infrared, longwave infrared, and visible wide and narrow field of view imagery. “This variety of sensor phenomenology will enable Jackal to collect data even in poor lighting conditions such as when the spacecraft is in Earth’s shadow,” Rogers said. 

Rogers said obtaining these licenses are “significant milestones in True Anomaly’s mission to define the next generation of space security.”

At the new facility, called GravityWorks, the company plans to produce more Jackal vehicles and other systems, said Rogers. “GravityWorks will be able to produce a fully-tested, mission-ready satellite every five days.”

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...