Capella Space, the American space technology firm specializing in data and satellite solutions, has announced a strategic collaboration with SpaceX for the launch of two Acadia-generation satellites – Acadia-4 and Acadia-5. The initiative marks a significant step in advancing Earth observation capabilities.
Scheduled for 2024, Acadia-4 is set to launch on SpaceX’s Bandwagon-1 mission, no earlier than April. The satellite will be deployed into a 45-degree mid-inclination orbit (MIO). Following suit, Acadia-5 is slated to launch no earlier than June 2024 as part of SpaceX’s Transporter-11 mission, in collaboration with Exolaunch. Acadia-5 will find its position in a 97-degree sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).
Frank Backes, CEO of Capella Space, highlighted the strategic importance of these launches: “Working with SpaceX to launch our Acadia satellites into a variety of orbits is a huge win for Capella and will enhance our ability to bring greater coverage and higher revisits over key areas.”
Moreover, Capella Space’s Acadia satellites feature an advanced system design that provides up to 5x more on-orbit imaging time per satellite compared to other commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) providers. This technological edge allows for a broader range of insights and applications, catering to government, academia, and commercial sectors.
What is SpaceX’s Bandwagon
SpaceX’s Bandwagon service, unveiled in August, is an innovative program designed to complement SpaceX’s existing Transporter Missions, introducing a new class of rideshare missions tailored for mid-inclination orbits.
The Bandwagon missions provide payload deliveries at altitudes ranging from 550 to 605 kilometers, with inclinations of approximately 45 degrees. This expansion into mid-inclination orbits enhances SpaceX’s mission options, granting customers unprecedented access to space for a variety of applications.
At the same time, by facilitating satellite launches on trajectories aligned with mid-inclination orbits, the Bandwagon service also solidifies SpaceX’s standing as a leader in the smallsat launch services.
More options for Capella
Capella Space is among the early adopters of this program, leveraging it to launch satellites into MIO and SSO orbits. The move enhances Capella’s spatial capabilities, enabling a higher revisit rate over critical regions and offering flexibility in data collection.
In addition to the collaboration with SpaceX, Capella Space affirms its ongoing partnership with Rocket Lab for satellite launches into orbit. This multi-faceted approach underscores the company’s commitment to advancing space technology and providing diverse solutions for its customers.