BlackSky’s financial success is boosted by federal contracts in the United States

Earth observation business BlackSky’s financial performance is being boosted by US government contracts, according to officials on the company’s first earnings call after going public on November 12. BlackSky has revealed its third-quarter financial figures, which indicate a sales increase of $7.9 million, or 49 percent, over the same period last year. In the third quarter, the corporation lost $48.9 million in operational income, up from $12.5 million in the previous year. It had $198 million in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter.

After completing the SPAC merger with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company), the geospatial data and satellite imaging supplier started trading on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) in September. During the earnings call, CEO Brian O’Toole stated that BlackSky is lowering its sales forecast for 2021 from $40 million to a level of $30 to about $34 million. “The scheduling of new deal start dates plus supply chain effects owing to the COVID-19 outbreak are principally driving this,” says the report.

NASA has awarded O’Toole a 5-year, sole source blanket purchase deal to deliver top revisit satellite imagery in aid of NASA’s Earth observation studies, according to O’Toole. “This provides NASA the ability to purchase imagery from us on a yearly basis for many millions of dollars,” O’Toole explained. “For climate change and other research, they’ve been showing a growing interest in commercial photography and analytics.”

The firm is looking for new commercial opportunities in the mining, finance, and transportation industries. However, the majority of BlackSky’s clients are US government entities, primarily defense and intelligence. “We’re gaining and extending multi-year contracts,” O’Toole added, “which improves our sight into out-year revenues.”

He said that an existing contract with National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) had been renewed. “From the second to the third quarter, imagery deliverables under the contract climbed by 100 percent.” The company also authorized a strategic commercial deal with Palantir Technologies to aid Palantir’s government clients and won a $30 million, 5-year indefinite delivery indefinite quantity deal with National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for the¬†artificial intelligence facilitated economic monitoring.

BlackSky is bidding on an NRO contract for the Electro-Optical Commercial Layer, with bids due in the beginning of December and awards likely in spring 2022.

O’Toole stated that the company plans to increase its imaging satellite constellation from six to twelve by the end of the year, pending the scheduling of anticipated launches from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch pad. Two BlackSky satellites are set to launch on Rocket Lab’s Electron spacecraft next week. A launch failure earlier this year resulted in the loss of two BlackSky satellites.

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