What are your satellite launch plans?
Our first constellation will consist of nine 1-meter resolution satellites, which we plan to launch in October 2016 and which may build out to 48 satellites. In addition, our future-generation systems will feature ultra-high resolution imaging capabilities and other advanced technologies. The first of those systems will launch in 2017.
What are your products?
Our information products for enterprises will include fresh, daily imagery and video as well as intelligent analytics and derived information products. They will be available self-service style via the GeoSnap app running on a variety of platforms (including mobile devices, smart phones and tablets), delivered in a variety of formats and image modes, and configured according to customers’ specific technical data needs. For example, some customers may only need raw data; others will need and expect fully processed, corrected, intelligent information that can immediately be put to use for a variety of applications and decision-making needs. As market demand grows, we will be able to provide near-hourly updates with an increased satellite constellation.
Who will your customers be?
We are primarily serving government and commercial organizations that need to use information for a variety of purposes that are important to the planet – ranging from monitoring agricultural crops to monitoring infrastructure to assessing national security needs.
What makes Hera Systems different?
Two primary things set us apart from other providers: the combination of all of the features and capabilities we offer in a single package, and our highly expert team combining over 200 years of experience in the aerospace and engineering fields. Our agility, value-added services, and big performance in a small package are our other key differentiators.
How does Hera Systems plan to offer “affordable” products?
We’re able to offer a very high-value product that combines more features and capabilities than any other system, at a lower cost. We will accomplish that by doing three things:
- Building a significantly smaller satellite than anything currently out there. Because of the small format, we reduce launch costs while increasing launch flexibility – and we can pass along the benefit of lower costs to customers.
- Keeping manufacturing costs controlled by doing almost all of our manufacturing and integration in-house.
- Maintaining a lean corporate structure, which leads to low-overhead costs.
Is there a market for another satellite imagery provider?
What partners are you working with?
How much will it cost to build and launch your 1-meter system?
The cost to build the first 1-meter resolution satellite is roughly $1 million. This is substantially lower than other similar systems due to the system’s unique design and Hera Systems’ lean way of doing business. It is also much lower than the cost of satellites built just a few years ago. The first commercial high-resolution imaging satellite, IKONOS, cost over $500 million to launch in 1999.
Regarding our ultra-high resolution satellite, we estimate development and launch costs of our first technology demonstrator to be under $15 million. This exceptionally low cost is due in part to our partnership with NASA Ames, with whom we have signed a license agreement on two pending patents for NASA’s Cost Optimized Test of Spacecraft Avionics and Technologies (COTSAT) spacecraft. NASA has dedicated six years to developing this platform. The agreement enables us to leverage NASA’s cutting-edge COTSAT technology in the development of our ultra-high resolution commercial imaging system – saving us about 18 months in development time.
Is your satellite a “microsatellite”?
Our 1-meter system can be considered a microsatellite due to its small size compared to previous generations of satellites. The 12-cubic-unit, 22-kilogram form factor is a unique achievement that packs loads of functionality in terms of positioning accuracy, image processing power, propulsion and other capabilities. Previously, much larger satellites were required to design this much performance in a single system.
Our future-generation, ultra-high resolution satellite, which we expect to collect higher than 31-centimeter resolution imagery, is in the category of small sat. It will provide a larger platform (not to exceed 300 kilograms in weight) capable of handling much higher resolution imaging and advanced communication systems. It will be a best-in-class commercial satellite for imaging and video and for hosting a number of other remote sensors.