SAN ANTONIO, Texas — An undisclosed customer is paying Capella Space $10 million upfront to gain access to the San Francisco startup’s Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data stream even though the company has not yet launched its first cubesat. That deal helped the firm close a $12 million series A investment round, led by Spark Capital, in May.

With the money raised, Capella plans to launch demonstration satellites, build application-specific products and assemble the first block of its space-based constellation, said Payam Banazadeh, Capella co-founder and chief executive.

Capella has not yet revealed the launch vehicle for its first satellite, but Banazadeh said by email the launch will occur in six months.  Eventually, Capella plans offer customers access to global one-meter resolution SAR imagery, updated hourly. Capella plans to launch 12 satellites per year in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...