(By SpaceNews Staff | Dec. 11, 2013) WASHINGTON — The first images taken by a minifridge-size satellite launched late last month were publicly released Dec. 11 by Skybox Imaging, the Mountain View, Calif.-based startup that intends to launch 23 more satellites in the years ahead to provide timely access to high-resolution imagery.
Skybox-1, a 100-kilogram satellite built to collect submeter resolution imagery and high-definition video, launched Nov. 21 from Yasny, Russia, aboard a Dnepr rocket. Skybox-2 is slated to launch later this winter from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan aboard a Russian Soyuz-Fregat rocket.
Skybox built the satellites in house using commercial off-the-shelf components and machine tools bought at fire-sale prices when a nearby automotive plant closed in 2010.
The first set of images the company released were taken Dec. 4 as Skybox-1 flew over Perth, Australia. Skybox said in a statement that the images have not been tuned or calibrated but still exceeded their early expectations.
“We are tuning and calibrating the system and are excited to deliver more imagery soon,” the statement said.