The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has had many unpredictable effects on global economic activity – most of them negative. But the epidemic has also highlighted the need for alternative solutions to challenges where traditional solutions now either prove too expensive, or too difficult to maintain good health and safety practices. Near space Labs, a startup focused on providing timely, location-specific, high-resolution Earth imaging from balloons in the stratosphere, has found its model remarkably suited to the conditions arising due to the coronovirus crisis .
Near space labs Texas is in the process of expanding its offering, with some imagery already collected, and many potential customers about to subscribe to its imaging services before launching the first full batch of imagery collected early next month Team in active conversation with. Adding a new geographical location in the midst of an epidemic is necessary near Space Labs to further develop a way to easily ship and deploy its balloon-loofed imaging devices using remote instruction with local technical talents Can be increased. It is now set to begin an imaging operation effectively, basically anywhere in the world, with simple, minimal training onboard and to equip local operators on-demand.
“With space restrictions, we had to figure out how to deploy the hardware completely remotely,” explained Rema Matevosian, CEO of Space Labs. “It was a challenge that we wanted to tackle at any point, for our scalability – but instead we had to deal with that ASAP. Today, I am proud to say that Swift, our robotic vehicle, is capable of being shipped anywhere around the world in small suitcases. And with some videos and a manual, it is very easy to train to launch new ones. “
The Swift is basically a sophisticated camera attached to a balloon that flies between 60,000 and 85,000 feet, with short duration flights that can visualize 270 square miles at 30 cm per pixel resolution in a single pass. Swift is also designed to be able to go up often, making trips twice per day, and is designed to provide quick turnaround times for processed images, which are geosynchronous or even That LEO has long awaited potential for imaging based on orbital schedules from satellites. , Ground station transmission time and other factors.
And because Space Labs can basically ship its imaging equipment in a suitcase and just tell anyone about a train to use it effectively, versus building a satellite that is highly trained engineers By requiring delivery via rocket and operation, it can offer considerable savings. Space-based competition – at a time when public institutions and organizations looking for such data are reluctant to open their wallets.
“In these uncertain economic times, margins and fiscal responsibility become very important to the people,” explained Matevosian. “We have the right solution for this – our approach is very flexible, very low cost. Even states are bankrupt ‘, – so everyone is looking for ways to improve their margins and improve their spending. “
Matevosian told me that Near Space Labs has seen an increase in interest as a result of global economic changes in its product from two directions. First, there are customers who have traditionally received this imaging from satellite providers and who are looking for cost savings and products that are more close to their geographic and time needs. Second, there are organizations that are beginning to use this kind of imagery for the first time, as an alternative to in-person inspection or sensing, because in those ways COVID-19 has banned the workforce.
“COVID placed a spotlight on the general in the remote sensing industry, because people cannot, for example, visit assets or sites they usually check manually,” she said. “That’s because we started looking at remote sensing solutions, and we saw an uptick in applications and sign ups for our imagery. An example is the industry where conservation is taking place. Protection was not a vertical that was super active in our pipeline. But suddenly with COVID, it became very active.
Metevosian says it took just “days” near “space” to prepare a new technical team to be able to launch its Swift in Texas, and as a representative of the speed at which Now basically anywhere in the world, imaging can be measured. He says flexibility and scalability were always the key assets of the business, but the COVID crisis pushed that essential value to the forefront, and could help drive the company’s growth much faster than expected.