Capella unveils a new generation of radar satellites

LOGAN, Utah – Capella Space intends to offer improved image resolution and quality with a new generation of synthetic aperture radar satellites, called Acadia, scheduled to launch in early 2023.

With Acadia, Capella plans to increase radar bandwidth from 500 to 700 megahertz and power by more than 40 percent.

“If you increase your bandwidth to provide higher resolution products but don’t increase your signal strength, you will end up providing a lower quality product at higher resolution,” Payam Banazadeh, Capella CEO and founder, told SpaceNews by email. With Acadia, Capella seeks to ensure that its image quality does not suffer at higher resolutions, he added.

Capella also is heavily focused on satellite tasking to shorten the time between customer orders and delivery. Tasking orders already travel from the ground to Capella satellites through Inmarsat communications satellites in geostationary orbit.

For Acadia, Capella is upgrading the payload downlink antenna to reduce the time between ground contact and imaging. Acadia satellites also will be equipped with optical communications terminals, a move designed to reduce the time from imagery collection to downlinking, according to the news release.

“Capella designs, builds and operates its own satellites,” Banazadeh said. “This vertical integration between satellite design and data delivery allows us to rapidly iterate our designs based on what our product and sales teams see as opportunities in the market.”

Capella is not yet ready to reveal how many Acadia satellites the company plans to launch.

“The number of satellites will scale with customer demand, but we have a substantial number of them in production as we speak,” Banazadeh said.

In April, Capella Space announced a $97 million Series C investment round led by NightDragon. At the time, the company said the funds would help it expand its seven-satellite constellation, enhance its Capella Console data platform and expand its staff to meet growing demand for synthetic aperture radar imagery and data.

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