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December 3rd, 2013

Skybox Aims High, Shoots Low + Has The Whole Picture (Earth Image)

[SatNews] Imagine a camera more than 600 kilometers away from its target, moving at over 7 kilometers per second, trying to see an object less than 1 meter in size.

In today’s connected world, every organization is deeply impacted by events across the globe on a daily basis. Skybox Imaging was founded on the premise that an ability to better understand these phenomena could fundamentally change the way humanity makes decisions on a daily basis —increasing the profitability of businesses and improving the welfare of societies worldwide.

They build satellites,  write code, and deploy data centers. But at heart Skybox is about unlocking the human story by approaching daily global activity as the world’s largest data science problem.

Earth Observation 2.0 is where satellites are simply sensors and the magic is in harnessing scalable computing and unbounded analytics to find answers to the world’s most important geospatial problems regardless of data source.

At Skybox, technology is a means to an end because it gives the flexibility to address the client's needs in the way that works best for them and their organization with satellites and software that are constantly evolving to better serve the clients.

Imaging satellites generate vast amounts of data, and require an Internet-scale data approach to unlock their full potential.

Instead of using traditional relational database management systems, open source technologies and the use of Apache Hadoop for tasking, storing, and analyzing large quantities of satellite imagery and derived data Skybox offers a custom framework, called BusBoy, capable of running scientific computing algorithms written in C or C++ as Java tasks within Hadoop. This framework enables rapid production deployment of future algorithms against Skybox data, and is already used extensively to develop their own advanced satellite imagery processing tools.

Skybox-collected data is critical to informed decision-making, it is only one part of a mosaic of complicated data sets. It is a crucial data piece in the larger puzzle of understanding the world.

UAV builders, satellite operators, social aggregators work with Skybox to explore the benefits of including data and algorithms within their platform.

Skybox captures photons in orbit to processing pixels on the ground, using their flexibility to provide global businesses unprecedented transparency.

Official SkyBox employee...Rusty dressed up as SkySat-1! (SatNews editors can't resist a dog photo!) 

The laws of physics make high-resolution imaging very challenging from small satellites. With the company's researchers and engineers experience working on some of the world's most advanced imaging technologies, allowing us to approach the theoretical limits of performance.

Skybox Telescopes—Imagine a camera more than 600 kilometers away from its target, moving at over 7 kilometers per second, trying to see an object less than 1 meter in size. At this distance, the law of diffraction limits the smallest ground object that can be imaged through a telescope based on the diameter of that telescope. Using sophisticated, proprietary manufacturing techniques, Skybox telescopes are able to approach the limits dictated by the laws of physics—enabling higher quality imagery than ever seen before in similarly sized optics.

Cameras and Sensors —Traditional satellites capture imagery like a copier machine — with a line scanner that builds up images row-by-row. These sensor arrays capture lots of light, meaning less of the grainy noise seen in a cell phone picture taken in too dark of a room, but they make satellites extraordinarily complex. Skybox uses the latest generation of two-dimensional imaging sensors, coupled with sophisticated, proprietary camera electronics to dramatically simplify our systems in space.

There's much more about this company, their capabilities, philosophy,  products, people and their special dog Rusty at their new and improved website.