Following its previously announced commitment to provide continuity to the existing RapidEye satellite constellation, BlackBridge released the details of the RapidEye+ constellation concept at its ENABLE 2014 Partner Conference.
RapidEye+ will be a constellation of five satellites with an imaging capacity that will far exceed the current RapidEye constellation’s capacity of 5 million square kilometers per day.
The RapidEye+ superspectral system will include 14 bands strategically placed for applications in agriculture, vegetation monitoring, land cover discrimination, water quality, and many others. This band set also includes a panchromatic channel with resolution better than 1 meter. RapidEye+ is expected to launch in 2019, allowing significant overlap with operation of the current RapidEye constellation.
“RapidEye+ will allow BlackBridge to address the growing high resolution imagery market, with an unmatched imaging capacity,” said CEO Ryan Johnson.“It also allows us to continue to serve and grow our core markets in agriculture, REDD, and environmental monitoring with enhanced capabilities.”
BlackBridge will announce the results of a competition for the design of RapidEye+ in the coming weeks.
In order to proceed with RapidEye+, the BlackBridge parent company had to secure added funding. The company announced it has secured $22 million (Canadian) in funding from the Bank of Montreal (BMO) and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) for the development of this next generation of satellites to allow RapidEye+ to become reality and for the renewal of existing credit facilities.
This financing will contribute to the development of the new satellite constellation that will enhance BlackBridge’s imaging prowess, allowing the company to greatly expand its current range of geospatial solutions.
BlackBridge CFO Richard Goode says of the investment, "We are pleased that both BMO and BDC have joined us in the development of our next generation of satellites. We are seeking strong long-term partners as we continue to grow our business, and both BMO and BDC provided the financial strength and commitment we were looking for.”Spokesmen for both banks said the lending institutions provided funding because they see strong business growth opportunities from offerings of the company with the enhanced RapidEye+ concept.