New Production Facility to Cater to the Growing Demand for Small-Sats

LeoStella, a small sat design and manufacturing company, has announced the official inauguration of its production facilities in Tukwila, Washington. The company is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space (a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo), and Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries. Formed in March 2018, LeoStella has been developing a state-of-the-art production facility to construct small-sats cost-effectively and at scale.

According to LeoStella CEO, Chris Chautard, with the growing number of constellations, there is a large demand for efficient small sat production and LeoStella is uniquely positioned to address that demand. The company is a unique blend of deep knowledge and expertise from Thales Alenia Space and innovation and agility from Spaceflight Industries. With the new facility, it is equipped to design and manufacture small-sats 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. The company is critical to BlackSky’s success as it works to get the 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, according to BlackSky’s CEO Brian O’Toole.

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.