The fourth and last spacecraft in BlackSky’s initial flock of commercial Earth-imaging microsatellites successfully launched Monday aboard a Rocket Lab Electron rocket with three other payloads, setting the stage for the final assembly and launch of at least 20 more BlackSky orbiting surveillance platforms starting later this year.
SpaceX and Arianespace recently announced plans to launch rideshare missions to sun-synchronous and geostationary orbit, dedicating big rocket capacity for small satellites as the U.S.-based launch broker Spaceflight committed to using a new Indian microsatellite launcher set to debut later this year.
ICEYE, a Finnish company that builds and operates a growing fleet of commercial Earth-observing spacecraft, has released the first radar image from a microsatellite with a resolution of less than 1 meter, showcasing advances in tech miniaturization that could aid environmental monitoring, military surveillance, and the exploration of other planets.
A Vega rocket faltered minutes after liftoff from French Guiana at 9:53 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0153 GMT) and failed to reach orbit with a European-built reconnaissance satellite for the United Arab Emirates. The payload and launcher fell into the Atlantic Ocean, marking the first failure for the solid-fueled Vega launch vehicle.