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EarthNow satellite video venture draws big backers

Airbus satellite
A graphic shows the preliminary design for satellites that Airbus is manufacturing for OneWeb. EarthNow plans to use a modified version of the same platform to beam real-time video down to Earth. (C3 Creative Code and Content GmbH Photo via Airbus)

The latest spinout from Intellectual Ventures, EarthNow, says it’s coming out of stealth mode with backing from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other high-profile investors.

Bellevue, Wash.-based EarthNow aims to operate a fleet of small satellites that will send continuous real-time video views of our planet from Earth orbit. The satellites will be modified versions of the spacecraft that Airbus is building for the OneWeb broadband internet satellite constellation.

In addition to Gates, EarthNow’s investors include Airbus, OneWeb founder and executive chairman Greg Wyler and Japan’s SoftBank Group, the startup said today in a news release. The amount of funding was undisclosed, but for what it’s worth, SoftBank made a billion-dollar investment in OneWeb back in 2016.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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