An airship for Mars, two spacecraft capable of exploring the hellish environment of Venus, and a fusion-powered orbiter and lander for Pluto are three of the planetary-related research projects recently funded by theNASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program.
In all, NIAC funded eight advanced projects focused on Mars, Venus and Pluto in its latest annual funding round. The space agency also funded two proposals aimed at identifying and extracting resources on planets, moons and asteroids. (more…)
Bloomberg has an intriguing report about Apple, Boeing and te emerging battle to provide global broadband services via constellations of satellites.
The iPhone maker has recruited a pair of top Google satellite executives for a new hardware team, according to people familiar with the matter. John Fenwick, who led Google’s spacecraft operations, and Michael Trela, head of satellite engineering, left Alphabet Inc.’s Google for Apple in recent weeks, the people said. They report to Greg Duffy, co-founder of camera maker Dropcam, who joined Apple earlier this year, the people said. They asked not to be identified talking about Apple’s private plans. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, as did Google. Fenwick, Trela and Duffy didn’t respond to requests for comment….
In a regulatory filing last year, Boeing Co. detailed a plan to provide broadband access through more than 1,000 satellites in low-earth orbit. The aerospace company has talked with Apple about the technology company being an investor-partner in the project, a person familiar with the situation said. It’s unclear if those talks will result in a deal….
Still, TMF’s Farrar said there’s no guarantee Apple will get involved in the Boeing project. The satellite industry is littered with bankruptcies and other failures. Satellite telephone company Iridium LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999, and Teledesic abandoned its “internet from the sky” plan more than a decade ago.
Indeed, Apple may have hired the Google executives for something other than satellite work. It’s already trying to use drones to capture and update map information faster than its existing fleet of camera-and-sensor ladened minivans. And in 2015, it acquired Aether Industries LLC, which develops near-space technology such as high bandwidth radio transceivers and high-altitude balloons.
Airbus’s Pléiades, SPOT6/7, KazEOSat-1, and TerraSAR-X Join Growing Satellite Imagery Service
SEATTLE, April 5, 2017 (Spaceflight Industries PR) – Spaceflight Industries today revealed BlackSky Spectra, its on-demand satellite imagery service which enables customers to discover archive images and task new images from 13 high-resolution imaging spacecraft, all from one convenient web platform. BlackSky Spectra enables customers to easily look at the planet across every spectrum, from visual imagery to multi-spectral data including synthetic aperture radar (SAR), hyperspectral data, and radio frequency detection, which provides a more comprehensive view of the changing world.
GLASGOW, UK (Bird.i PR) — Bird.i, the premiere global platform for accessing the world’s best satellite, airborne and drone imagery, has today announced that it has signed a partnership agreement with leading high-resolution satellite imagery leader DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI).
MENLO PARK, Calif. (EOS PR) — Data scientists, GIS engineers and software developers from California-based company EOS have recently launched a cutting-edge cloud-based tool that allows users, journalists, researchers and students to easily search and analyze huge amounts of the most up-to-date earth observation data.
Land Viewer is an on-the-fly, real-time imagery processing and analytics service, which provides:
instant access to petabytes of new and archive data;
the ability to find geospatial images on any scale in 2 clicks by selecting the required territory on the map or by location name;
on-the-fly imagery analytics, with the option to download any images required for business purposes.
VANCOUVER, BC, March 14, 2017 (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada PR) — A Vancouver-based company will develop new technologies that will provide its clients with highly detailed images of the planet as a result of a $17.6-million (US$13.06 million) investment by the Government of Canada.
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced this investment in UrtheCast Corp., a leading developer of space and ground-based satellite technology.
SAN FRANCISCO (Planet PR) — Today we’re excited to release Planet Explorer Beta, an online tool that lets users browse geospatial data through time and see change across the globe. In short, Planet has introduced a time axis to maps.
Planet operates 149 satellites—the largest fleet in human history—giving us the capacity to collect a new image of everywhere on Earth’s land area every day. Most satellite imagery online today is years old. Planet’s imagery is different—it’s being constantly updated. With Planet Explorer Beta users can for the first time browse and see change month by month across the whole planet: every port, every farm, every forest, every city.
SpaceX has filed a new application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for approval to launch a constellation of 7,518 satellites to provide communications in the little used V band.
The system is in addition to another constellations of 4,425 satellites (plus orbital spares) SpaceX proposed in November that would operate in the Ku and Ka bands. In total, the two constellations would have 11,943 spacecraft plus spares.
“When combined into a single, coordinated system, these ‘LEO’ and ‘VLEO’ constellations will enable SpaceX to provide robust broadband services on a full and continuous global basis,” SpaceX said in its application.
Competitor OneWeb has submitted a new application that would add an additional 2,000 satellites capable of operating in the V-band to its planned constellation of 720 satellites.
SAN FRANCISCO and WESTMINSTER, Colo. – February 24, 2017 – MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (“MDA”) (TSX: MDA), a global communications and information company providing technology solutions to commercial and government organizations worldwide, and DigitalGlobe, Inc. (“DigitalGlobe”) (NYSE: DGI), the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement, pursuant to which MDA will acquire DigitalGlobe for US$35.00 per share in a combination of cash and stock.
The transaction values DigitalGlobe at an equity value of approximately C$3.1 billion (US$2.4 billion), and an enterprise value of C$4.7 billion (US$3.6 billion), including assumption of DigitalGlobe’s C$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in net debt. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, and is expected to close in the second half of 2017.
WESTMINSTER, Colo., Feb. 7, 2017 (DigitalGlobe PR) — DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI), the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, announced the growth of its ecosystem of content producers and consumers who leverage the Company’s Geospatial Big Data analytics platform, GBDX. With this increase in ecosystem partners, GBDX solidified its leadership position.
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (DigitalGlobe PR) — DigitalGlobe, Inc. (NYSE: DGI), the global leader in earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced that the WorldView-4 satellite successfully completed in-orbit testing and calibration and began serving its first direct access customer on Feb. 1. Additional direct access customers will be added to WorldView-4 service throughout 2017.
SAN FRANCISCO (Planet Labs PR) — Planet Labs is thrilled to announce that we have entered into an agreement with Google, wherein Planet will acquire the Terra Bella business including the SkySat constellation of satellites, and Google upon closing, will enter into a multi-year contract to purchase Earth-imaging data from Planet.
I can speak for everyone at Planet when I say that we’re incredibly excited about this opportunity. We’ve long admired what the team at Terra Bella has achieved and we think the SkySat constellation of 7 high resolution satellites is highly complementary to Planet’s existing medium resolution 60-satellite fleet. The former enable regular, rapidly updated snapshots of select areas of the globe at sub-meter resolution; the latter regular, global coverage at 3-5 meter resolution. The two systems under one roof will be truly unique and will enable valuable new capabilities.
VANCOUVER, January 17, 2017 (UrtheCast PR) — UrtheCast Corp. (TSX:UR) (“UrtheCast” or the “Company”), the geospatial and geo-analytics company developing two Earth Observation (EO) satellite constellations, known as OptiSARTM and UrtheDailyTM, today announces that it has entered into a binding agreement with a confidential government customer for the sale and shared operation of the first two satellites in the OptiSARTM Constellation, the world’s first commercial EO constellation with integrated optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors, for US$180 million.
The customer has also agreed to pay an additional US$30 million for other products and services related to the sale of the satellites, contingent on the parties reaching mutual agreement on the final scope of these deliverables. (more…)
It looks as if Google’s foray into satellites could be short lived:
Alphabet Inc.’s Google is in talks to sell its satellite business to competitor Planet Labs Inc., a satellite-imagery startup that is seeking a new round of funding to help pay for the possible acquisition, according to people familiar with the talks.
The sale of its satellite-imagery unit, Terra Bella, would be a rapid about-face for Google, which has recently shed some of its bolder ventures. Google bought the company for $500 million in 2014, when it was known as Skybox Imaging.
Discussions about the possible acquisition, which were first reported by Bloomberg News on Monday, are focused on a possible cash plus equity deal, the people said. Planet, founded in 2011, is seeking to raise funds to help finance the deal and pay for continuing operations, one of the people said.
China’s launch of two commercial remote sensing satellites went awry on Wednesday, leaving the spacecraft in the wrong orbit.
The pair of SuperView-1 satellites lifted off aboard a Long March 2D from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center bound for an orbit of 500 km.
Space-Track.org data show four objects in elliptical orbits with apogees of 524 km (325.6 miles) and perigees ranging from 212 to 216 km (131.7 to 134.2 miles). One of the other objects was a 2U amateur radio CubeSat.
Unless the perigees of the SuperView-1 satellites can be raised using on-board propellant, it might only be months before they re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up.
The satellites are part of a constellation of remote sensing spacecraft being launched by the Beijing Space View Technology Co., Ltd. The company plans to launch two more SuperView-1 spacecraft in 2017 and additional ones through 2022.
It was second launch mishap this year for China’s space program. In August, a Long March 3C booster failed to orbit the Gaofen-10 remote sensing satellite after launch from the Taiyuan spaceport.