Spacecraft, Launch Vehicles & Satellites
An artist's rendition of the RapidEye constellation

An artist's rendition of the RapidEye constellation

Source: MDA

Thursday, April 30, 2015
An artist's rendition of the RapidEye constellation

An artist's rendition of the RapidEye constellation

Source: MDA

NEWTOWN, Conn. - RapidEye is an instrumental part of BlackBridge Geomatics Corp. BlackBridge offers a variety of services, image processing and imagery archiving for customers. RapidEye emerged from bankruptcy in 2011, and was purchased by Iunctus (which later changed its name to BlackBridge). RapidEye satellites are now an important part of the services that BlackBridge provides to its customers. That importance will ensure continued delivery of remote sensing satellites to the company, as demonstrated by the recent announcement by BlackBridge that it intends to order five new satellites.

BlackBridge secured a loan in May 2014 for CDN22 million ($17.6 million) that will partially be used to fund development of a new constellation of satellites. The constellation will consist of five satellites that will provide one-meter resolution when they launch in 2019.

The five RapidEye satellites currently in orbit will last much longer than initially anticipated by the company. Originally scheduled to cease operations in 2014, the satellites are now expected to remain operational at least until 2019, and possibly longer. They remain in good health and have high fuel reserves. This longer life enabled RapidEye, and later BlackBridge, to generate revenue longer without the expense and risk of purchasing and launching new satellites.

One potential threat to BlackBridge is the rise of new players in the commercial remote sensing satellite market. Companies like Planet Labs and Skybox Imaging plan to operate large networks of small satellites that will provide extensive global coverage. However, BlackBridge believes that its focus on broad area mapping and change monitoring will complement the new services, rather than compete directly against them. The company will continue operations going forward. The new RapidEye+ constellation will be delivered in 2019. A follow-on network could be delivered about 10 years later to maintain global coverage.

Source: Forecast International
Associated URL:
Author: B. Ostrove, Analyst 


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