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Agile Space Paying Dividends During Pandemic

by | Jun 23, 2020

This June, BlackSky will launch two more satellites in the midst of an unprecedented worldwide pandemic. Despite the complexities of space and a major public-health crisis, BlackSky’s innovations in smallsat design, launch, operations, and service delivery at scale continue as planned.

What allows us to keep our schedule and move forward with a very complex activity in a novel work environment is the result of our company’s future forward DNA. It’s a byproduct of being inspired by the contribution our constellation and data analysis play in a “first to know” world.

We’ve given considerable thought to the scale and relationships we’re building with our space assets and the insights we provide. That process requires significant creativity in how we build systems, the logistics around fielding those systems and ultimately how we approach operating them in space.

A Dynamic Confluence

The interconnection of an accelerated technology curve and a willingness to rapidly adapt to those opportunities inspires everyone on our team. It’s influenced how we’ve approached our systems design and the supply chain since we were founded. We also make strategic decisions on who we partner with versus what we manufacture to gain maximum velocity in the manufacturing process. This has allowed us to develop and build satellites more efficiently and with less cost than was historically possible.

More Than Disruption

The BlackSky advantage is a reflection of the quality of our people and the vision of the future they make possible. We have aimed to be disruptive by being so compliant that we can work broadly with anyone, anywhere. And that allows us flexibility as business environments change, work locations shift and travel is limited.

Nimble Logistics and Operations

In our systems approach we’ve strived to advance the ground rules for what support a system requires. We build for many situations and strive to eliminate logistically and operationally complex attributes.

We don’t need a team to ship, monitor and continuously oversee our systems during transport. For example, we’ve executed our pre-launch operations domestically and abroad with teams an order of magnitude smaller than other satellites in class.

We can send a few team members to be onsite prior to launch for a couple of days, as opposed to a large team for a protracted campaign. We get in, do our thing, mount the satellites on the rocket, and get out.

In fact, we’ve purposely designed our operations to be less complex than existing industry norms. As we reach orbit, because of our high degree of automation, most of our operations can be overseen remotely. This strategy has enabled us to adapt to the unique, challenging situation presented by the global pandemic. We’ve not missed a step.

Marketplace Agility

For BlackSky, despite everything that may be happening around the world, we keep the trains on time and deliver on the promises we make to our customers. I’m proud of our team and our ability to continue executing on the BlackSky mission.

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