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First-To-Know Insights Fuel Commercial Opportunities
By Brian O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer, BlackSky
Much in the same way that global positioning once shook the world, BlackSky is providing a new perspective on geospatial intelligence, expanding it out of the defense and intelligence domain and putting it in commercial hands

Three images were collected in rapid succession over Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on August 10, 2020, at 11:31 a.m. local time. By analyzing these images, BlackSky is able to extract critical economic and financial indicators to offer a near-real-time view of commercial activity in Port Elizabeth. In particular, with the assistance of Spectra AI, BlackSky can count the number of container stacks in the container yard, identify the container and bulk carrier ships currently berthed, count the number of vehicles awaiting export in the car terminal, track ground vehicle movements, and even determine which cargo holds are actively being loaded. With the ever-increasing revisit rates offered by the BlackSky Global constellation and the advanced automation capabilities enabled by Spectra AI, economic activity is revealed at a velocity previously thought impossible

BlackSky is making good on its promise to deliver first-to-know global observations on emerging events and anomalies using deep activity monitoring and predictive analytics. This near real-time intelligence — once the sole province of top defense and intelligence organizations — is now affordable and accessible for commercial use... and that opens up entirely new avenues of opportunity for the use of space-based intelligence.

More than a satellite company, BlackSky is truly a global monitoring company.

By combining geospatial information with a variety of sources, sensor data and IoT feeds as well as leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) techniques, BlackSky’s Spectra AI platform provides an unprecedented level of data depth and analysis for customers at almost instantaneous speeds.

Global Monitoring Highlights BlackSky’s Innovation Curve

BlackSky’s platform has found favor as a valuable tool for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) related missions and highly valuable for tracking major global events. This has led to several significant contracts this year.

As part of a multi-year contract with the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU), BlackSky will be providing the U.S. Army Tactical GEOINT (TacGEO) prototype program with its high-revisit, low-latency constellation architecture. The Department of Defense is leveraging BlackSky’s low-cost, high revisit, small imaging satellites to develop critical concept of operations (CONOPS) including tactics, techniques, and procedures, and to inform future operational systems.

BlackSky was also awarded a contract leveraging its AI platform to monitor the efficacy of global COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Specifically, BlackSky’s Spectra AI has been enlisted to monitor overseas U.S. military bases and help secure critical supply chain nodes. The company’s global monitoring capabilities will track the outbreak and spread of COVID-19 to ensure the protection of deployed personnel.

Industry Leading User Experience​

BlackSky has overcome enormous barriers, in place for decades, to increase the company’s capabilities for rapidly iterating, evolving and innovating smallsats in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Today, with Spectra AI, customers can easily task a satellite from any internet-connected device to affordably obtain images and timely insights.

BlackSky imaging satellite capture of Mecca.

A single ship (in yellow) approaches Grytviken in South Georgia and
the South Sandwich Islands at 5:25 p.m. local time on August 10, 2020,
as captured by BlackSky-8. An image at this time of the day is achievable
due to the specific inclined orbit of the BlackSky satellites. All ships
entering Grytviken are required to pass a thorough COVID-19
screening process before entry is permitted.








The next phase of growth will be determined by user experience and access to data and imagery.

BlackSky is also seeing interest from a number of companies such as risk management and investment research firms, strategic intelligence and consulting companies, security service businesses, non-profit think tanks, geospatial analytics companies, internationally sustainable development agencies, public transportation organizations and airlines.

Like that historic GPS moment in global technology, BlackSky’s Spectra AI is creating new expectations today and has the potential to change the future.

Author Brian O’Toole is the Chief Executive Officer of BlackSky.