Days after its 19th successful launch, Long Beach-based Rocket Lab penned a contract to put eight more BlackSky satellites into low-Earth orbit this year, the company announced Thursday.
The satellites will be delivered to space across four missions aboard Rocket Lab’s Electron Rocket.
“Rocket Lab simplifies the path to orbit,” BlackSky CEO Brian O’Toole said in a statement. “Dedicated launch on Electron is the key enabler for us to rapidly develop our constellation on our own terms which is hugely important in unlocking more analytic and data-driven opportunities for our customers.”
The agreement with launch service provider Spaceflight, Inc. on behalf of BlackSky, a leading provider of real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services, is the largest number of satellites BlackSky has committed to a single launch provider, according to the announcement. The deal includes the BlackSky satellite that was aboard Rocket Lab’s successful “They Go Up So Fast” rideshare mission Monday.
Rocket Lab also delivered two BlackSky satellites to orbit in 2019.
“We’re thrilled to be providing dedicated and reliable access to orbit for Spaceflight and its customer BlackSky,” Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said in the announcement. “By securing streamlined space access on Electron, BlackSky can focus on what matters most to their mission—providing real-time, actionable data to decision makers on the ground when they need it most.”
The launching of nine 130-kilogram satellites for BlackSky in 2021 is a demonstration of Rocket Labs ability to rapidly deliver equipment to orbit for companies looking to aggressively scale up operations, according to the announcement.
The BlackSky missions join a host of others on Rocket Lab’s 2021 manifest, including missions for the U.S. Space Force, a moon mission for NASA and launches for numerous commercial customers.