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Spaceflight signs up Google for satellite launch

Terral Bella's SkySat satellites
An artist’s conception shows Terra Bella’s SkySat satelltes in orbit. (Credit: Terra Bella)

Seattle-based Spaceflight Industries says it’s made a deal with Terra Bella to have the Google subsidiary’s Earth-observing satellites launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket next year.

The agreement makes Terra Bella, which was known as Skybox Imaging before Google bought it for $500 million in 2014, the lead payload provider on a dedicated-rideshare mission arranged through Spaceflight Industries’ launch services entity, known simply as Spaceflight.

“At this point, it looks like Terra Bella may be the only lead,” Spaceflight’s president, Curt Blake, told GeekWire in an email today. So far, seven of Terra Bella’s SkySat satellites have been put into orbit, and that number is expected to grow to 24. Blake declined to say how many of Terra Bella’s satellites would be launched on Spaceflight’s mission in late 2017.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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