NorthStar Earth & Space (NorthStar), a Canadian company has contracted Thales Alenia Space (TAS) to build the first three satellites of its debut "Skylark" constellation for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services, with Seattle, WA's LeoStella overseeing the final assembly. This satellite constellation is the first dedicated to space situational awareness services, said the firm.
With commercial space en route to a forecast $2.7 trillion industry, new satellites and planned mega-constellations are launching into an environment dangerously congested with traffic and space debris. NorthStar's Skylark constellation services are designed to revolutionize the safety of spaceflight, claimed the firm.
NorthStar is the first commercial service to monitor space, from space, via a constellation of satellites with dedicated optical sensors. With a secure data-driven 3D catalogue of the entire space environment powered by advanced SSA analytics, NorthStar will deliver timely and precise Space Traffic Data, Collision Avoidance and Navigation Services to the global satellite community.
Starting in 2022, NorthStar will begin operation of Skylark to enable the delivery of near real-time high fidelity tracking services, elevating traditional SSA to the level of Space Information and Intelligence (SI2), said a press statement.
With a comprehensive view of the all near-earth orbits, Skylark's space-based sensors will deliver precise observations of more space objects than any current system with higher revisit frequency per object. The result is unprecedented coverage, custody and enhanced predictive capabilities.
EARTH & SPACE DUAL MISSION CONSTELLATION
Starting in 2024, NorthStar plans to augment the Skylark mission with dual mission satellites performing both SSA and Earth observation. Dual mission satellites will be equipped with Hyperspectral, Infrared and Optical sensors, which will operate continuously from space, imaging, digitizing, and analyzing the details of Earth's ecosystems and surrounding orbits daily.
The NorthStar Platform used for Skylark will expand to include Earth data to deliver contextualized information solutions directly to end users in the private and public sectors, providing critical knowledge about Earth and its orbital environment.
"The New Space Economy depends on the safety and sustainability of space. We are here to make space safe for doing business, now and into the future," said Stewart Bain, CEO and co-founder of NorthStar Earth & Space.
Herve Derrey, CEO, Thales Alenia Space said, "Thales Alenia Space will bring its world class expertise in optical instruments associated to Leostella multimission platforms to support this important mission. Skylark materializes a first step in providing evergreen information to the satellite operators."
NorthStar's investors include Telesystem Space (a co-enterprise of the Sirois family office, Telesystem and the Roger's Family Trust of Canada), the Space Alliance (Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio) of Europe, KinetX (USA), the Government of Quebec and the Government of Canada.