Commercial Spaceflight And The Dawning Age of NewSpace

A New 50-Trillion-Pixel Image of Earth, Every Day

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—It’s not just that Terra Bella Avenue would be an unremarkable street in Silicon Valley. It would be an unremarkable street anywhere in suburban America. The gray-brick low rises could sit at an intersection in Edison, New Jersey, or Skokie, Illinois, real-estate attorneys or school-district administrators shuffling in and out every day, and nothing would seem out of the ordinary.

But inside one of these buildings, past the cubicles and office kitchen, is a space-grade clean room where a man and woman are dusting off a new satellite the size of a dorm-room fridge. They’re clad in white, and their workspace resembles at once an auto shop, a high-school robotics lab, and the kind of gleaming NASA warehouses you see on the Discovery Channel.

And in the next building over, a mission-control center dictates directions to two camera-laden spacecraft as they travel up and down the Earth, from pole to pole, every 90 minutes. With the help of relay towers in Norway, Alaska, and Antarctica, technicians download new imagery and monitor solar radiation through an “instrument panel” inside a Google Chrome window.

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See on Scoop.itThe NewSpace Daily


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