In an announcement timed to make a splash at the UK Space Conference 2017 being held in Manchester, the UK-based start-up satellite operator Earth-i, an Earth Observation (EO) satellite imagery and value-added services provider, has announced its intention to launch its own EO smallsat fleet. It has reportedly contracted with the British Airbus subsidiary, SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Limited), a company renowned for its small satellite designs. This new fleet will be a first for Europe and will provide full-colour video and image products.
The company has ordered an initial prototype satellite to test technologies and feasibility. This first satellite is expected to launch later this year. If its 15-month testing programme is successful, Earth-i intends to begin launching the rest of its constellation in early 2019.