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High-definition video from space is available for purchase. Finally.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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What would you look at if you could pull down high definition images and video (!!) from space? A few years ago that question was pretty far out, but now anyone willing to shell out some bucks can pull down 1080P video from Skybox Imaging’s network of 24 satellites.

How good is the video?

The resolution is high enough to observe objects that impact the global economy like shipping containers, but not close enough to view or identify human activity. SkySat-1 also captures some of the highest quality color imagery of any commercial satellite and is capable of sub-meter native color and near-infrared imagery.

Skybox says it can capture up to 90 second video clips at 30 frames per second. And while you might not be able to check out the new pool your neighbor is installing, high-def satellite video could help us understand out world better by analyzing movement of goods and people, providing visual data about supply chains, shipping, industrial plant activity, and even humanitarian relief efforts.


(click through to YouTube for 1080P version)

I would watch videos of melting ice sheets and retreating glaciers. Those are large enough in scale and deserve a view from above (way above). Like this ice fracture that happened earlier this year off the coast of Alaska:

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

Imagine this as a 1080P video. Stream that to your Apple TV. Boom.

David Wogan About the Author: An engineer and policy researcher who writes about energy, technology, and policy - and everything in between. Based in Austin, Texas. Comments? david.m.wogan@gmail.com Follow on Twitter @davidwogan.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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