Seattle-based BlackSky released some of its first pictures of Earth taken from a satellite in space.
The company hopes to launch a service in 2017 that allows people to purchase pictures of Earth from space, with resolution down to about a square yard. For $90, people can receive images within 90 minutes of landscapes across the world.
“We think here at BlackSky, we've reached the point in the curves where they cross, where we can lower the cost, and makes the cost low enough for more people to access it,” said Jason Andrews, who co-founded Spaceflight Industries, which launched BlackSky.
Before BlackSky, it could cost thousands of dollars and anywhere between several days and weeks to get a photograph from space. Right now, Andrews says, the main source of geographical information is from Google Earth, which could be up to five years old.
“It's very exciting to look around the planet and look at the economy, look at how the world's changing and use that for good,” Andrews said.
BlackSky will launch 60 satellites, and is tapping into other existing satellites, including the U.S. Geological Survey’s Landsat.
The technology will be used by climate scientists, emergency managers tracking earthquake or forest fire damage, or even civilians. Already, the United Nations and the World Bank are using what the company calls its platform to help analyze global events in almost real time.
“You can help refugees, and you can track endangered species,” said Andrews. “There's an unlimited use of applications.”