Googlejust paid $US500 million for Skybox Imaging, a company that provides the world’s first commercially available, daily HD video satellite system.
The U.S. company’s vision is to “leverage timely satellite data to provide insight into daily global activity.”
And the satellite footage from Skybox Imaging‘s SkySat-1 micro-satellite is as mesmerising as the implications are powerful.
“Businesses can, for the first time, monitor a network of globally distributed assets with full-motion snapshots without needing to deploy an aircraft or field team,”John Clark of SkyBoxexplained the system in a March blog post.
“The movement captured in these short video windows, up to 90 seconds in length, yields unique insights that improve operational decisions.
Here’s a look at the technology:
Digital cartographers are figuring out ways to use the new source of geospatial data, but simply being able to watch part of the world several times a day from space is profound.
What the insights are, and who benefits from it, has not been seen yet. No one outside the military has ever been able to access data like this: Theoretically, one could follow individual people from space.
Nevertheless, the potential in industries like agriculture, airports, asset monitoring, security, supply chain management, and nuclear plants is vast. There are huge implications for finance, too: One can just imagine how a hedge fund could leverage this data.
The technology is cutting edge. The company asked: “What’s the smallest box I can fit something of real commercial value into?”
The challenge is that space assets are traditionally extremely valuable, extremely expensive, and extremely risky.
So the next technological frontier for quality imaging from space involves systems that can both capture data of high enough quality (resolution) to show economic activity and be cost-effective enough to deploy in large numbers (timeliness).
And Skybox thinks they have nailed it given that the circutiry of the SkySat is about the size of a phone book and consumes less power than a 100w light bulb:
On November 21, Skybox launched SkySat-1 into orbit:
The company is now planning to build a constellation of 24 satellites that can cover almost the entire expanse of the Earth.
Welcome to the future.