If there’s one thing the New Space podcast has made clear, it’s this: Space is the next big marketplace and will be a significant driver of the near-future global (and interstellar) economy. But the barriers to entry for most companies are enormous: high costs, satellite launch backlogs, long technology lead times, and more.
Enter Satellogic. The company is working to break down those barriers and open up space-based observation, innovation, and opportunity to the masses.
The Goal: Democratize, Expand, and Commercialize the Space Sector
“Satellogic is on a mission to democratize access to high-resolution, high-quality remote-sensing imagery,” says Mark Carmichael, the company’s Senior Director of Business Development.
By deploying a large number of Earth Observation (EO) satellites, and by providing satellite services and capabilities to clients as needed, Satellogic’s goal is “to reduce cost and to amplify capacity so that virtually every market and individual users could come to us to get low-cost access to high-resolution imagery,” Mark says.
The effect of this business model goes beyond democratization and into a greater opportunity for commercialization in space. This takes many forms, but Satellogic’s focus is well defined: “We have broken down our product offerings into three categories,” Mark says. These are: critical site monitoring, constellation-as-a-service, and responsive space systems.
A New Twist on Site Monitoring
“Somebody says, ‘I want a bunch of images’ … we provide them,” Mark says. “That’s easy enough to understand.”
Well … yes, Satellogic’s critical site monitoring capability is easy to understand. But its complexity and range make it stand out. And that makes the service valuable to both state-level and commercial organizations.
Also, Satellogic’s EO monitoring goes beyond static images and into recorded video, which is especially useful for defense. The video—which is actually more like a short snippet of motion, similar to the “live picture” function on modern smartphones and tablets—affords clients a clearer picture of what’s happening on the ground.
“You can understand in the context of cars moving, traffic jams, aircraft taxiing or taking off at an airbase,” Mark says. “With a single frame of an image … you don’t know if the cars are moving, quickly or slowly or stopped, and the aircraft, as well—it may be on the taxiway, but maybe it’s broken there.”
In commercial usage, Satellogic’s site monitoring service has numerous uses, including “illicit crop monitoring, forestry, agricultural support, land mapping,” Mark says.
Ad Hoc Satellite Services
Satellogic’s constellation-as-a-service program provides countries “dedicated capacity on satellites, while the satellites [are] over their country,” Mark says.
In essence, these clients are paying to use satellites only when those satellites’ data are applicable to them.
This saves these countries money and time, since they would have to dedicate significant resources to designing, building, and launching their own constellations. And it cuts down on waste, since “certain countries don’t seek the capacity beyond their borders.”