COLORADO SPRINGS — A startup commercial satellite constellation plans to use a fleet of 18 small Earth-observing satellites with terabyte data storage and Ka-band downlinks to generate a rich database for customers who need daily updates to monitor changes and other factors on the ground.

OmniEarth LLC is seeking investors to help finance a $250 million constellation of 300-kg (660-lb.) smallsats that would generate six channels of multispectral data for crop analysis, urban planning and other traditional applications for subscribers accustomed to the Landsat dataset. Images would feature a resolution of 2 meters panchromatic/5 meters multispectral.

The satellites are designed to launch as secondary payloads using ESPA-ring attachments if possible. They also carry the necessary interfaces and nadir/wake-facing real estate for as much as 80 kg of hosted payloads as an additional revenue source.

"It’s an ambitious mission to image the entire Earth, once a day, everywhere," said Lars Dyrud, president and CEO of the Arlington, Va.-based startup. "We are seeing a dramatic, increasing need from business leaders, and really from society in general, to be able to assess, manage and ultimately predict global business activity, and how it interplays with the Earth itself."

While other companies are launching Earth-observation constellations, OmniEarth says its system will offer a richer database because of the capabilities of its spacecraft. Dynetics will build them based on the Fastsat prototype that it has already flown, but with 100 more kilograms of mass, Ka-band downlink instead of S-band, and a terabyte rad-hard high-density memory.

Dave King, the president of Dynetics, said in a briefing during the National Space Symposium here that once the full constellation is in its 10:30 a.m. sun-sunchronous, 750-km orbit, it will collect worldwide data daily, eliminating the need for tasking. Instead, subscribers will be able to mine the OmniEarth database for the data they require.

King said Dynetics has invested in the project. Other partners are Harris Corp., which will handle the payload hosting based on its experience with hosted payloads on the Iridiium-Next constellation, and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.

Dyrud said the company hopes to have its pathfinder spacecraft in orbit in 2016, and to launch the full constellation by the end of 2018. It is working with rideshare brokers to find promising launches, he said.

The hosted payloads will use a standard interface to connect to the spacecraft command and data systems, but will otherwise operate independently. In addition to Earth-observation applications, the platform can host technology demonstration and communications payloads, and any other that would not interfere with the primary mission.

For Earth-observing apps, the satellites will offer 0.1-deg. nadir-stabilized control, 0.02-deg. pointing knowledge, and jitter no greater than 1. Arcsec/sec.