„Microsoft founder Bill Gates has provided a major tech startup capital investment toward a U.S. company that aims to send up a “constellation” of satellites to provide 24-7 high-definition surveillance of the entire surface of Earth.
EarthNow, located in Washington State, is planning to launch 500 satellites that will provide “live and unfiltered” surveillance with a one-second delay. The company’s founder and CEO, Russell Hannigan, said:
“EarthNow is ambitious and unprecedented, but our objective is simple; we want to connect you visually with Earth in real-time. We believe the ability to see and understand the Earth live and unfiltered will help all of us better appreciate and ultimately care for our one and only home.
“With existing systems, users can see only what has happened in the past. With EarthNow’s constellation of satellites, you will see events unfold as they happen in real time.”
While EarthNow’s business model includes eventual mass-market applications that can be accessed on mobile devices, it will initially offer its services to “a range of government and enterprise customers”:
“Applications include catching illegal fishing in the act, watching hurricanes and typhoons as they evolve, detecting forest fires the moment they start, watching volcanoes the instant they start to erupt, assisting the media in telling stories from around the world, tracking large whales as they migrate, helping ‘smart cities’ become more efficient, providing on-demand data about crop health, and observing conflict zones around the world.”
In addition to Gates’ startup capital, the company is getting a major financial boost from SoftBank. It’s also working with two other companies on the project.
OneWeb, which is piggybacking the surveillance cameras on its 5G Internet satellites. Those platforms, which the company calls buses, will be manufactured by Airbus at its production lines in both France and Florida.“