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The Road to Launch: Team Reflections on What our 5th and 6th Smallsat Launch Means to Us

by | Aug 10, 2020

If you’ve been part of our Road to Launch campaign, then you’ve already been introduced to some of the amazing team members that make up the BlackSky family. With the incredible launch of our 5th and 6th smallsats now behind us we can take a breath, dish out a few high-fives, raise a glass, and celebrate. For a moment. While the work goes on, we want to pause and celebrate the contributions of so many individuals while also sharing why this launch is so important to the future of BlackSky. In no particular order, here are the real magic-makers of BlackSky talking about what they know and love best… space.

“This launch will solidify our leadership in the “get the request fast, take the image fast, get it to the customer fast, and do it again tomorrow” realm of high-resolution Earth imaging. In adding two more satellites to our nascent yet agile fleet of smallsats, we are increasing our capacity for images and our temporal frequency drastically.”

Andrew Steen
Constellation Operations Engineer

“With the launch of Global 7 and 8, BlackSky continues to add even greater coverage to our constellation of high revisit satellites. The new satellites will allow BlackSky to supply rapid answers to our customers while providing additional fuel to Spectra AI, our industry leading analytics platform.”

Patrick O’Neil
Director of AI and Machine Learning

“We walk out of the shadows with imagination and belief. Then we launch it all into space. Be the first to know #BlackSky.”

Michael King-Stockton
Platform Front-End Engineer, BlackSky

“Launching satellites that you have spent years developing and improving never gets old. Launch is the proudest moment for these incredible teams who have made this possible!”

Paul Nitsch
Director of Engineering, LeoStella

“We get to see our constellation grow during a global pandemic, it’s very exciting!”

Matthew Winterstein
Mission Planning Engineer

“This launch marks my first while working at BlackSky, and it’s an awesome chance to see something tangible going into orbit after all of the hard work we’ve done. It’s also an awesome opportunity to nerd out!”

Keith Rawson
Software Development Engineer, BlackSky

“This launch not only helps add capacity for the world to gain insight into what’s happening on the planet we live on, but it’s yet another dream coming true for all that are involved to make it happen.”

Ka Wang Yee
Software Program Manager, Space Operations

“This is a significant launch for BlackSky as we get two more satellites in orbit and ramp up our constellation for global monitoring. Thanks for the ride SpaceX!”

Ian Jonesi
Intelligence Analyst

“I look forward to the exciting new imaging and AI capabilities we can build with the rapid revisit and unique times of day enabled by the launch of G7 & G8!”

Andrew Aslinger
Principal Engineer

“The launch of Globals 7 and 8 is a major BlackSky milestone that symbolizes a tremendous amount of teamwork and our continuously maturing constellation, and provides an incremental validation to our comprehensive plan to drive high-revisit value into our suite of offerings. I’m tremendously proud of BlackSky’s achievements thus far and full-throttle-energized about what we can and will deliver to our Customers in the future. Godspeed!”

Bill Cimino
Director, Cloud & Analytic Solutions

“I’m an individual that values innovation and technology, but to be a member of BlackSky takes me to a whole another level of involvement and pride. This will be my first experience of a company related space launch and being given the opportunity to be part of this mission is very much like slinging a piece of myself into space.”

Anna Whang
Customer Success Manager

“The launch of our next 2 satellites will significantly increase our revisit rates and our global monitoring capability…to provide our customers timely intelligence and insights so that they can be the First to Know.”

Devon Britton
VP, Business Development

“It’s inspiring to be working with SpaceX, a pioneer of commercial space, to bring our pioneering constellation of sensors into orbit.”

Derek Daczewitz
Sr Director Platform Engineering.

“As a young kid, whenever a plane would fly overhead, I would look up with awe and pride that my dad contributed his career to aviation. I hope to pass that inspiration to my child one day, albeit probably in the night sky.”

Paul Youm
Sr. Software Developer

“This upcoming launch presents new and exciting challenges that BlackSky has never faced before. We are deploying our satellites at a lower altitude where the atmosphere is thicker.

On top of our normal checkout procedures, we will have to rely on our propulsion systems to move our satellites to a safer orbit. Our success will further reinforce that BlackSky leads the way when it comes to commercial satellite technology.”

Sergey Nall
Emperor of Black Sky

“The launch campaign is the pinnacle series of events leading up to the launch. It’s harder than the design, assembly, integration, and test of space systems. It’s the highest investment, the longest hours, the most intensive work of a satellite mission… and the highest reward. And then, you get to see it launch. Onward and Upward.”

Z Megyery
Technical Satellite Program Manager

“We have mitigated/accepted and are tracking and managing 20 key risks for this launch – from tip-off, to collisions, to unit failures, to free molecular heating during launch. This is the most we’ve ever tracked, which means we’re growing up as a space company.”

Tyman Stephens
Chief Engineer, Satellite Systems

“When I started working for BlackSky, a phrase I’ve heard repeated many times is: Space is hard. This is an easy thing to understand. I just didn’t realize how many layers there were to this simple statement.”

Paul Youm
Senior Software Developer, BlackSky

“After we add these two new satellites, BlackSky will have the most Earth Observation satellites in low-inclinations in the world.”

Andrew Steen
Constellation Operations Engineer

“Do you know what RBF means in the satellite launch plan? (Remove Before Flight) The Red Tags that hang off of a lot of things that fly.”

Z Megyery
Technical Satellite Program Manager, Spaceflight Industries

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