Capella raises $13M to fund initial satellites for radar constellation

September 26, 2018
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NewSpace Watch
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Investment
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September 26, 2018

Capella Space has raised $19M to continue development of a constellation of Synthetic Aperture Radar smallsats:

The constellation will eventually reach 36 satellites. The first demo satellite is set to reach space as a secondary on a November SpaceX Falcon 9 launch. From the SpaceNews article:

“What this new funding allows us to do is execute on the next few satellites — launch them and start delivering imagery — while we’re kickstarting the manufacturing of the first batch of the constellation,” said Payam Banazadeh, chief executive of Capella Space, in an interview. The funding will also support expansion of the company’s business development team and product services.

The first satellite will strictly be a technology demonstration mission, he said, but two more scheduled for launch next year will start providing SAR imagery. Capella Space already has “early engagements” in place with initial customers for imagery from those later satellites, he said.

SAR offers the benefit of being able to collect imagery regardless of time of day or amount of cloud cover, unlike optical imagery. However, it’s also had a reputation for being more difficult to work with, an issue Banazadeh said is fading with the rise of automated systems to interpret the imagery and extract the desired information.

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