Once upon a time, the latest and greatest in electronics was produced by military, scientific, and spaceflight applications, with commercial uses being spinoffs that were often up to a decade behind. Now the situation is reversed; consumer electronics are where the innovation is happening, and military/space systems are finding ways to repurpose that technology.
COTS and general commodization of "discete units" (parts, subsystems, assemblies, etc.) is one of the biggest drivers for the commercialization of space. It's enabling people to move towards the use of advanced manufacturing techniques, cutting lead time and cost, and enabling batch production.
We recently published an article on how manufacturing lines are changing in the space industry, inspired by best practices in mature commercial sectors like the auto industry: https://blog.satsearch.co/2019-08-08-demystifying-auto-indus...
We see a lot of this happening through our website: https://satsearch.co. We're effectively building a B2B marketplace because of this specific change in the way supply chains are being architected.
Disclosure: I'm one of the co-founders at satsearch.
You highlight a region of the planet and they find you all the past imagery of that region. Though most of the daily results are a few strips that pass through the region, with some (or most) of the region missing. They haven't accomplished their ideal of "a picture of the entire earth once a day" but still one of the coolest companies out there.
Nothing is global at high resolution for anyone. Google's imagery is only high res at locations people are likely to look at.
High resolution satellites have a very narrow field of view. You can't image a large area with them. Ditto for aerial. There simply isn't 1m or better imagery globally, let alone 100cm.
You need _way_ more high-res sats than are currently in operation to image the entire land surface of the planet even yearly. So, yes, higher cost, but probably beyond what a company like google could pay. (Think trillions, not billions)
But... Sending a laser into the sky and intersecting an aircraft that was operating per regulation? That's on the laser-er, and "creating a hazard to aviation" is not a charge that you'll be happy dealing with in many countries.
One day we will likely dome cities:
I don't think it would be very pleasant to have a radome over your house or yard, though, since you usually want sunlight to come in!
>Refused to create native OpenGL context because of blacklist entry: FEATURE_FAILURE_OLD_NVIDIA
So the real combination is Old NVIDIA drivers + Linux + Firefox. (Maybe not even Firefox, the issue might be inseparable from my old card. I'm not going to try it on Chromium.) The question is, why is my card blacklisted? I think it might be because of a security vulnerability that Chrome hasn't patched.
Aka great places to start a terrorist or drug organization!
The invasion of Iraq got delayed by a few days due to cloud coverage. It would definitely impede surveillance to have clouds often blocking satellites.
We are wasting too much time.
The computers that got us to the moon where highly efficient integrated circuits. But (I presume) they can't get us to mars.
Personally I'd advocate for messy, but rich platforms, which max out our CPUs in some applications; but give expression to the emergent desires of those who want to tinker.
We don't have time to miss-out on potential wins by working with rigid systems.
Talking about visualizing Earth. Does anyone know of alternative visualizations/projections of Earth (other than globes and maps)?
For example, what would it look like if we could image Earth, entirely, from pole to pole, continuously, like a panoramic picture? (imagine the result as an impossibly wide picture that starts with one pole on the left and ends with the opposite pole on the right)
- Take a look at , click "Earth" in the lower left corner, then try other projections (they appear as the "A", "CE", "E", etc. list). Drag the map around to set the projection's "center". The real time projection calculations are pretty amazing..!
- Go to  and toggle all of the categories ("Wall Maps", "Maps of Hemispheres", etc.) by clicking them. The maps are not dynamic / cannot be dragged around (like ), but this is a more complete reference list (similar to Wikipedia's list of map projections ). The rest of the site is also absolutely incredible (I recommend taking ~1 hour to go through the whole list of projects one by one).
1. How did they get 150 satellites into low orbit?
2. Is it becoming a hazard to have all the satellites and space junk possibly making it difficult to launch anything down the road?
3. Aside from tracking the objects, has anyone made any calculations as to when these things will become a hazard?
2. Not really. Kessler syndrome is the general name for this phenomenon, but it's not a huge concern in LEO. In LEO, there is enough atmospheric drag to naturally deorbit spacecraft. For US based companies, regulations mandate that they have a deorbit plan within 25 years. For most cubesats, their orbits are low enough that they'll naturally deorbit within 5-7 years.
3. Most people generally think that any hazard in LEO will not be caused by launching more objects, but by having objects collide (or having some weaponry intentionally explode objects) causing debris that is spread more widely and too small to track. Currently JSpOC in the US tracks most objects the size of a baseball or larger in LEO and coordinates with various commercial and private entities to put into place plans for collision avoidance where possible.
2. People generally have a poor understanding of how vast space is. Congestion in specific low-Earth orbits is definitely a concern, but the devil is in the details. For instance, launching to Sun-Synchronous orbit (SSO)  above ~600 km is considered to pose significant risk to on-orbit assets, because of how many satellites are in SSO and the kinetic energy their carry, however to really assess the risk, you need to do a lot of detailed population studies (I've done some of this stuff). In a nutshell, launching more satellites can be generally considered to increase risk of on-orbit collision and fragmentation, but quantifying it requires a lot of maths and physics.
3. Yes! There's is extensive and on-going research on this topic. Most people know the Kessler Syndrome , but honestly space debris research goes a lot further than that. This review by J.-C. Liou is a great starting point: https://commons.erau.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1233&co...
If I remember correctly, their planned lifetime for imaging was 7 years, so it's quite amazing that they're still active 11 years later.
Bodies that are in stable orbit can have only a specific velocity which is a function of its distance from & mass of whatever it is orbiting. So orbiting satellite's speed can be inferred from its orbital height.
There are ground based tracking stations that can technically measure the speed of any orbiting body.
Also read somewhere that LEO satellites could use GPS receivers to get a fix on their position. measuring change in this position also gives velocity. There a bunch of limiting conditions around max-height and velocity for this to work though.
The picture of Monte Fitz Roy is breath-taking. Is there any way to access more of the pictures?
What's confusing? There's a picture taken every day.
If you're worried about the time span between the frames, I'm certain that shouldn't matter to the algorithm, it's just more noise and maybe the result takes longer to get..
> "fingernail-sized or smaller bits of plastic", often microscopic
For example, there is a damb nearby which was completed a few months ago, but is shown half-built in their map.
I wonder why both clouds and ocean show up as black instead of as actual white and blue imagery respectively.
Are they saving money and bandwidth by not sending back "useless" imagery? Or something else?
Usually, for ocean-sized bodies of water, we'd stop imaging entirely to reduce power load and align the solar panels with the sun. Effectively all of the ocean had nothing going on on the surface that we could image anyway.
When Planet gets the imagery, they have a fairly good sense of where it is, but it is still processed to get it to align with ground truth, which is called rectification and relies on matching visible features to known ground features. If the entire image is clouds, this can't work and they don't publish the image because they can't say exactly where it is. Also, there's not really usable information in that imagery I guess.
Obviously the most interesting container ships are the ones that you can see from space but don't show up on marine trackers. Although I don't know how you turn that information into money.
Actually someone must already be doing this, Airbus sponsored a Kaggle competition for detecting ships in satellite imagery https://www.kaggle.com/c/airbus-ship-detection and maybe that's how they caught that Iranian oil tanker last month.
If you want to track ships that want to be seen, basically everybody has AIS receivers up there (although I understand that's not trivial to sort out from space). If you want to track ships that aren't broadcasting, use radar.
Edit: checking the source code it only shows "20% of the photos" on mobile
The visual below shows the locations <span class="small-data-note">of 20%</span> of the photos
i.e. this particular dev probably tried it on Firefox/Linux, or got bug reports, and just decided to put up a disclaimer.
Right you are.
Do note that it works fine on my Ubuntu 18.04 machine with Intel graphics on the motherboard, in Firefox 68.
Additionally, "websites" that are made for chrome drive even more people into this monoculture which is bad for the web.
It also seems to work without UA switcher, but still states it won't work. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The console gives this error: "TypeError: m is null".
Edit: another responder to the parent comment said it works for them on Firefox dev edition on Arch Linux. I'm using Nightly on Arch and it gives the message stated above. With a UA switcher set to Chrome Windows, it loads but renders the image strips on the map as black stripes instead of 'textured' ones. Interesting...