Thales Alenia Space and Spaceflight Industries joint venture (JV) LeoStella has opened a production facility in Tukwila, Washington, to construct smallsats cost-effectively and at scale.

The JV is building an Earth-observation satellite for BlackSky’s constellation with completion anticipated by the end of the first quarter of this year.

The company was formed last March as part of The Space Alliance’s investment and acquisition of a minority stake in Spaceflight.

“The company is critical to BlackSky’s success as we work to get our constellation on orbit quickly.”

As part of the deal last year, LeoStella is required to build 20 satellites for the constellation deployed by BlackSky, a geospatial intelligence company owned by Spaceflight.

LeoStella CEO Chris Chautard said: “With the growing number of constellations, there is a large demand for efficient smallsat production and LeoStella is uniquely positioned to address that demand.

“LeoStella is a unique blend of deep knowledge and expertise from Thales Alenia Space and innovation and agility from Spaceflight Industries. With the new facility, we are equipped to design and manufacture smallsats efficiently.”

At peak capacity, the company’s production facility can produce up to 30 satellites a year.

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Spaceflight Industries president Brian O’Toole said: “LeoStella is positioned to disrupt the smallsat industry. The company is critical to BlackSky’s success as we work to get our constellation on orbit quickly.

“Part of making space more accessible is lowering all the costs associated, including the design and construction of the assets placed on orbit.”