What is EarthNow?
EarthNow is the first satellite imaging system designed expressly to deliver real-time, intelligent video observations of the Earth. EarthNow’s constellation is designed to ensure that at least one satellite is always above most places on Earth. Each satellite is equipped with extensive on-board processing to enable real-time interpretation of the video captured by the imagers. As a result, EarthNow will deliver an unprecedented capability: real-time, continuous and intelligent video of the Earth from space. EarthNow will let you understand and see our Earth in real-time, all the time.
How does EarthNow compare with existing satellite imaging systems?
EarthNow represents a dramatic leap forward in capability compared to other Earth observation satellite systems, which deliver pictures and sometimes video clips to users many minutes, hours and even days after they are requested. With existing systems, users can see only what has happened in the past. With EarthNow, you can see events unfold as they happen in real-time.
Where did EarthNow come from?
EarthNow was invented by Russell Hannigan (Founder and CEO,) and its core imaging technology was incubated within the Invention Science Fund (ISF) of Intellectual Ventures from 2014 to 2017. EarthNow, LLC was spun-out in 2017 and closed on an initial financing round in January 2018. EarthNow follows closely on the heels of other ISF spin-outs, including various metamaterials-based companies.
Who are your investors, and how much funding have you raised?
The EarthNow investors are Airbus, the Softbank Group, Bill Gates and Greg Wyler. We are not disclosing the amount of funding raised at this time.
What role will Airbus play in addition to investing?
Airbus is responsible for developing EarthNow’s satellites which will utilize an upgraded version of the satellite bus originally developed for OneWeb. This mass-produced and highly-capable bus provides a level of affordability and reliability impossible to achieve with traditional satellite manufacturing practices. Equally important, Airbus is a global market leader in the provision of satellite imagery and value-added services.
What is meant by “real-time”?
Users will be able to see places on Earth with a delay as short as about one second. This makes it possible to see and monitor events as they happen.
What is meant by “continuous”?
A sufficient number of satellites will be deployed to ensure that at least one EarthNow satellite is always above areas of coverage. This means it will be possible to observe specific locations on Earth continuously.
What is meant by “machine intelligence”?
Each satellite is equipped with an unprecedented amount of onboard processing power, including more CPU cores than all other commercial satellites combined. When combined with terrestrial processing and machine learning, this will give the EarthNow satellites the ability to interpret what they see in real-time. Machine intelligence is expected to be of great value for applications where users need to know what is happening, as it happens.
How will the constellation be deployed?
The constellation will be deployed in phases, eventually reaching hundreds of satellites in number. In the first phase, the satellites will cover the vast majority of targeted markets. Future enhancements will deliver 100% pole-to-pole global coverage. Each EarthNow satellite will be constantly connected to the ground network, thereby ensuring real-time availability on a global basis.
How will the satellites observe the Earth?
Each satellite is equipped with unique video imaging systems. The “Global View Imager” provides horizon-to-horizon intelligent video imaging, enabling continuous detection and monitoring of events over almost the entire Earth 24/7. Simultaneously, the “Spot View Imagers” can zoom in and see specific locations in more detail. For privacy protection, the resolution of the imagers will not be capable of monitoring an individual person.
What is the resolution?
The native video resolution, combined with image enhancement techniques, is designed to enable event monitoring and tracking applications consistent with existing and future customer requirements.
What will the user see at night?
EarthNow users will be able to see illuminated objects and events at night including, for example, buildings in towns and cities, traffic on the roads, ships at sea, fires burning in a forest, flashes of lightning, and space debris burning up in the atmosphere.
What products will you offer, and who are your customers?
EarthNow will offer various commercial products and services tailored to a wide range of users. We will initially serve high value enterprise and government customers in need of real-time Earth observation. Because EarthNow is a very high capacity system, we eventually expect to serve millions of consumers, such as via an app on any device, allowing each user to see and interact with the Earth in real-time. Easy and intuitive access to EarthNow products and services is central to the user’s experience.
When will EarthNow begin service?
We are not disclosing our deployment schedule at this time, as the current phase of work is focused on the overall system design and associated project plan.
Which launch providers will you use?
We are in discussions with several launch service providers.
How will you address privacy concerns?
Privacy is fundamental to EarthNow. We will hire a “Chief Privacy Officer” to ensure that we not only meet the privacy laws in jurisdictions where we operate, but also that we respect societal privacy. We will work closely with governments and the public at large to address privacy concerns, while providing visual Earth coverage for the benefit of humanity and our planet.
How will you manage national and international security requirements?
We will fully comply with all laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate.
Is EarthNow associated with other eponymous sites?
There is no association between EarthNow and the JPL Earth-Now app or the blog created by the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies at University of Wisconsin.
How can I participate?
In the next year we will meet with developers interested in creating new applications based on the EarthNow video and machine vision capabilities. Please send an email to email@example.com so that we may begin connecting with you.