Small satellites, and the startups that make them, are becoming a big deal – and there’s a fresh flurry of industry reports that explain why.
The bottom line is that new types of satellite data can give earthbound businesses an edge.
For example, a hedge-fund manager can estimate how much revenue Walmart will report by counting the cars in the stores’ parking lots. Farmers can use custom-delivered, hyperspectral imaging to monitor how their crops are doing. Petroleum companies can get a quick alert on potential pipeline leaks.
Seattle-area companies like Planetary Resources and Spaceflight Industries are betting millions of dollars on the rapid growth of next-generation satellite services. And then there’s the rush to deliver internet services via satellite: That’s the focus of SpaceX’s Seattle office.