LeoStella Is Among the Rising Stars of Seattle's Space-Business Sector

The Tukwila-based manufacturer has a pole position in the new space era's satellite race
FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
A completed satellite undergoes optical-system testing.

This article appears in print in the March 2020 issue. Click here for a free subscription.

Leostella is a small-satellite design and manufacturing company that in February of 2019 opened a production facility in Tukwila that employs some 40 people. The facility is capable of manufacturing 30 to 40 satellites a year, including Earth-observation and telecommunication satellites.

The company is a joint venture between Thales Alenia Space (Europe’s largest satellite maker) and Seattle’s Spaceflight Industries, which has raised more than $250 million in capital to date. LeoStella is part of a thriving global space industry projected to generate revenue of $1.1 trillion or more by 2040. 

The company inked a contract with Spaceflight Industries’ subsidiary BlackSky last year to produce 20 satellites at its 22,000-square-foot Tukwila manufacturing facility. BlackSky plans to build and launch a 60-satellite Earth-observation constellation. LeoStella also has been selected by Los Angeles-based Cloud Constellation Corp. to manufacture a 10-satellite constellation that will provide secure data storage for private enterprises, government and military clients.

A technician prepares a telescope for assembly into a satellite.

Machined aluminum decks comprise the main structure of these satellites. 

A technician installs cable-routing points on a deck. 

The inventory manager checks hardware delivered to an assembly station.

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