Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries joint venture plans to disrupt the smallsat industry by producing cost-effective satellites at scale
LeoStella, a smallsat design and manufacturing company, has announced the official inauguration of its production facilities in Tukwila, Wash. The company is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space, joint venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %), and Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries. Formed in March 2018, LeoStella has been developing a state-of-the-art production facility to construct smallsats cost-effectively and at scale.
?With the growing number of constellations, there is a large demand for efficient smallsat production and LeoStella is uniquely positioned to address that demand,? said Chris Chautard, LeoStella CEO.
?LeoStella is a blend of deep knowledge and expertise from Thales Alenia Space, and innovation and agility from Spaceflight Industries. With the new facility, we are equipped to design and manufacture smallsats efficiently.?
The first satellite produced by LeoStella will be an Earth-observation satellite for BlackSky?s constellation. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of Q1 in 2019. The company is contracted to manufacture the next 20 satellites in BlackSky?s constellation.
?LeoStella is positioned to disrupt the smallsat industry,? said Brian O?Toole, president of Spaceflight Industries and CEO of BlackSky. ?The company is critical to BlackSky?s success as we work to get our constellation on orbit quickly. Part of making space more accessible is lowering all the costs associated, including the design and construction of the assets placed on orbit. LeoStella will make constellation production lean, nimble and affordable.?
When operating at capacity, LeoStella?s production facilities will enable the company to produce up to 30 satellites a year, ranging from Earth-observation and telecom satellites. Additionally, LeoStella has spent the last year selecting its suppliers and forming partnerships with key vendors.
?LeoStella is fully in line with Thales Alenia Space?s strategy to match the new needs for new space,? said Viktoria Otero Del Val, EVP Strategy at Thales Alenia Space.
?It will complement and leverage its undisputed experience of mass production for constellation with its success of Globalstar, O3B and more recently Iridium NEXT, making Thales Alenia Space the worldwide leader for constellations.?