It has been a while since I’ve penned anything for this site. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t been writing!
In early February I picked up a freelance gig writing for a new Startup blog called Startup Hook – http://www.startuphook.com. It’s a startup about startups! What the team does is share profiles of startup companies that have the potential to disrupt entire global industries. With writers in Athens, Boston, Seattle and Melbourne we have a pretty good geographical spread, as well as a diverse range of personal interests.
Time will tell if this venture becomes a success, but the early growth in readership has been really good. It has also been beneficial for me to establish a writing discipline, given the need to produce 2-3 quality articles every week.
Whilst Startup Hook is not the only thing that I’ve been working on, it has generated a lot of fun learning about new and innovative businesses. I may also share some news regarding another project, but for now will leave you with the text from my most recent contribution for Startup Hook. It’s about an Argentinean company with plans to deploy a network of nano-satellites in low earth orbit and use the real time data stream that it generates to monitor a range of globally important issues.
If you like what you read please visit the site at the url above, ‘like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
Elon Musk’s private space flight company SpaceX is not the only company with its sights set on space. The current revolution in space technology development is increasingly driven by startups. One such company is Satellogic, an Argentinean startup that is working hard to bring space down to earth so that we can better understand our planet.
Satellogic has plans to democratise global access to space based services by reducing current barriers to accessing satellite data in real time. It is hoped that this will launch a new era of planetary awareness and transform existing approaches to global problems by creating a constellation of nano-satellites that can deliver commercial grade imaging and data at a tiny fraction of the present cost.
Constellation of Satellites
The vision that Satellogic has involves deploying a network of compact, cost-effective satellites with the capacity to image any spot on earth every few minutes. These units incorporate the latest technology and are the size of “a desktop computer hard drive”, according to founder and CEO Emiliano Kargieman. It is estimated that it currently takes up to three days to take two consecutive photos of the same spot on the planet. This network, which will consist of up to 300 satellites talking to each other in low earth orbit, will then be used to stream unprecedented real time data regarding the planet. It is envisaged that this will include social conflict, natural disasters, commercial and shipping activity and various planetary health metrics. This is seen as having the potential to revolutionise the way that decisions are currently made at all levels – governments, businesses, NGO’s and individuals.
The possible applications for this technology are almost limitless. A central aim is to help better address the management and distribution of scarce natural resources. Areas of interest that have already been identified include:
|– Agriculture – Food Production & Security
||– Energy Production & Pipeline Monitoring
|– Disaster Response
||– Illegal Logging
|– Border Patrol
||– Port Security
|– Critical Infrastructure Monitoring
||– Business Intelligence
After originally planning to provide image resolution at a level of sub two metres, customer feedback resulted in Satellogic increasing the resolution to one metre. For those concerned about privacy, it is understood that the satellites will have the ability to photograph cars, but not individual license plates.
In 2013 Satellogic successfully deployed two satellites to help test key components of their proprietary technology. Those first two units – CubeBug1 and CubeBug2 – were followed in the middle of last year by BugSat-1. All three provided invaluable data to the company as it refined its design. Highlighting the risks inherent in a venture of this kind, Satellogic experienced a setback on October 28 2014 when the failure of an Antares rocket launch resulted in the loss of 26 satellites.
Undaunted, the plan for 2015 includes the launch of the next generation of prototypes. With approximately 15 satellites scheduled to be in orbit by the end of this year, enabling the delivery of the first commercial services, Satellogic’s nano-satellite constellation will be keenly watched.