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SkySat 1, 2

SkySat 1 [Skybox Imaging]

SkySat-1 and 2 are commercial Earth observation satellites by Skybox Imaging, licensed to collect high resolution panchromatic and multispectral images of the earth. The satellites operate in a polar inclined, circular orbit at approximately 450 km above the earth.

Skybox becomes only the fifth organization licensed to provide high resolution space-based imagery of Earth.

The first two satellite prototypes without propulsion were built by Skybox Imaging in house. The first satellite was launched in 2013 on a cluster launch on a Dnepr rocket. The second identical satellite was launched as a secondary payload on a Soyuz-2-1b Fregat-M launch in 2014.

Each SkySat satellite is equipped with a Ritchey-Chretien Cassegrain telescope with a focal length of 3.6 m, and a focal plane consisting of three 5.5 Mpixel CMOS imaging detectors. SkySat-1 and -2 use 3 CMOS frame detectors with a size of 2560 × 2160 pixels and a pixel size of 6.5 m. The operational satellites have a higher resolution detector. The upper half of the detector is used for panchromatic capture, the lower half is divided into 4 stripes covered with blue, green, red and near infra-red color filters. The native resolution at nadir of the SkySat-1 and SkySat-2 is around 1.1 m. Further satellites will be placed in lower orbits, leading to increased image resolution.

Thirteen more improved satellites with propulsion modules are being built by SS/Loral using a Skybox-licensed design. One of these will launch in 2015 on a Dnepr rocket. Six more were launched on an Orbital built Minotaur-C-3210 rocket in early 2017.

Google announced in March 2016 that Skybox Imaging had changed its name to "Terra Bella".

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Earth Observation
Operator: Skybox Imaging → Terra Bella → Planet Labs
Contractors: Skybox Imaging
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 6 years
Mass: 83 kg
Orbit: 563 km × 597 km, 97.79 (#1); 631 km × 639 km, 98.4
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SkySat 1 2013-066C 21.11.2013 Do LC-370/13 Dnepr with DubaiSat 2, STSAT 3, WNISAT 1, BRITE-PL, AprizeSat 7, AprizeSat 8, UniSat 5, Delfi-n3Xt, Dove 3, Dove 4, Triton 1, CINEMA 2, CINEMA 3, OPTOS, CubeBug 2, GOMX 1, NEE 02 Krysaor, FUNcube 1, HiNCube, ZACUBE 1, ICube 1, HumSat-D, PUCP-SAT 1, First-MOVE, UWE 3, VELOX P2, Pocket-PUCP, BeakerSat 1, QubeScout S1, Wren, $50SAT, BPA 3
SkySat 2 2014-037D 08.07.2014 Ba LC-31/6 Soyuz-2-1b Fregat-M with Meteor-M 2, Relek, TechDemoSat 1, DX 1, AISSat 2, UKube 1, M3MSat-Dummy