Customer Profile: Umbra

We are deep in the preparations for mission SXRS-6! One of our valued customer payloads on board is Umbra-02. Umbra-02 is the second commercial satellite of an initial planned 24 ​​Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite constellation for Umbra: the first, Umbra SAR-2001, launched in June 2021 on our SXRS-5 (SpaceX’s Transporter-2) mission. 

Umbra is making access to information about the world easier than ever. Until now, access to high-resolution satellite imagery has been a privilege reserved for a very few. Soon, however, researchers, businesses, and U.S. government partners will have timely access to the highest-quality Earth observation data available in a cost-effective way. Entrepreneurs will be able to use SAR imagery for uses that will benefit humanity, and Umbra is going to open up these floodgates.  

Before Umbra, when customers bought data from satellite imagery providers, it was  sold under restrictive licenses with constraints like “internal use only” or with a significant price increase, a multi-party license with a restricted number of designated users. Umbra flips that sales model on its head. Now customers pay the same whether they are a massive corporation or a fledgling startup. 

“We’re thrilled with our one-of-a-kind satellite’s performance, which comes from Umbra’s patented antenna, which generates an industry-leading 1,200MHz bandwidth,” he says. “The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) technology is capable of seeing at night and through dense clouds to generate the highest resolution radar images ever sold on the commercial market.”

Why is Umbra’s mission especially important now? “To stay ahead of climate change, wildlife protection, and other major crises and issues, we need a global understanding of what is changing, where, and how fast,” says Galpern. “Umbra is built around the idea that by providing easy access to the highest quality commercial satellite data available, we can become an indispensable tool for the growing number of organizations monitoring the Earth, making data-driven decisions about land use, and solving other global issues.”   

Umbra knew that rideshare was the way to go when looking at available launch options. “Our unique satellite packs a huge antenna into a small volume, with an overall spacecraft mass under 70kg, and was specifically designed to make use of rideshare. Booking our launch through a rideshare service allowed for the maximum cost effectiveness for delivery of our sub ESPA-class satellite to orbit,” says Galpern. In addition to pricing, Spaceflight’s ability to provide launch integration support and expertise in interfacing with launch providers and regulatory agencies allowed Umbra’s team to focus on their most important task: improving our SAR Mission capabilities. 

“Spaceflight’s prior experience with multiple rideshares helped Umbra manage launch integration requirements for our launch. For subsequent launches, Spaceflight and Umbra have worked together to provide a mutually beneficial value proposition that met our expanding launch needs,” according to Galpern.

We look forward to seeing Umbra-02 on orbit, helping Umbra fulfill its primary mission of helping customers solve our world’s most pressing needs. 

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