A San Francisco-based start-up called Skybox Imaging is providing the world’s first public high definition video footage of Earth from 600 kilometers above the ground. While still images of Earth sent down from space are becoming increasingly common, video footage is scarce and lacks quality.
The footage is currently available for free, though Skybox Imaging plans on selling the footage to businesses in the future, and shows details down to the meter scale. Vessels in shipping lanes and even cars on roads can be seen using the video recorded by the company’s satellite, SkySat-1, which was launched in November. Samples of SkySat-1′s footage include videos of Tokyo, Bangkok, Baltimore, and Las Vegas, all in high resolution. The satellite captured videos at 30 frames per second for a duration of 90 seconds for each video clip.
The company plans on having a network of 24 satellites capable of covering the entire planet. It plans on selling what it can analyze about the global economy to companies, including details of supply chain movement and other patterns. What makes SkySat-1 different from other satellites is the capability of providing imagery that is better than a meter in resolution is much lighter and 20 times smaller. The circuit responsible for driving the satellite is the size of a phonebook and consumes less than 100 watts of power. This makes it possible to launch more than one satellite at a time into space and control them together.
SkySat-2 will be launched sometime early this year. With this relatively compact and powerful technology, we will be able to view our own planet from the convenience of our computer screens in more detail than ever before. Images taken by SkySat-1 can be seen below.