DigitalGlobe, Inc. has selected Space Systems Loral (SSL) to build the spacecraft for its next-generation WorldView Legion constellation. Neither company has revealed financial details or indicated how many satellites will be a part of the constellation.
The constellation will likely not be as large as some of constellations being deployed by new entrants into the market, like Planet, which operates a network of about 150 CubeSats. Digital Globe is working with Saudi Arabia’s Taqnia Space and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) to develop, build, and operate a network of six small remote-sensing satellites called WorldView Scouts. DigitalGlobe intends for the two constellations to supplement each other.
The first WorldView Legion satellite is expected to launch in 2020 and the constellation will provide services through 2030. DigitalGlobe says WorldView Legion, when combined with WorldView Scouts, will be able to revisit some locations on Earth up to 40 times per day, with satellites passing over important spots on the globe up to every 20 to 30 minutes.
SSL had a major advantage in the competition, since its parent company – MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) – recently acquired DigitalGlobe. DigitalGlobe’s entire WorldView constellation was built by Ball Aerospace. However, with DigitalGlobe and SSL now sharing a parent company, the Palo Alto based satellite manufacturer will be a favored supplier for the foreseeable future. In fact, DigitalGlobe CEO Jeffrey Tarr indicated that increased efficiency created by combining the satellite manufacturer and satellite operator were one reason he favored his company being acquired by MDA.
Image Source: DigitalGlobe