satellite Stories November 17, 2014

Project Loon, Google’s ambitious balloon-based project to bring Internet access to the two-thirds of the world’s population who don’t yet have it, is about to begin its first live tests with a real carrier, reports The Guardian.

Australian carrier Telstra is providing base stations and part of its radio spectrum to allow Google to carry out tests with 20 balloons. The base stations will provide a two-way radio link with the balloons, which will then broadcast an LTE signal back to the ground – each balloon providing a signal across up to 600 square miles …  expand full story

satellite Stories September 2, 2014

Google satellite exec Greg Wyler reportedly leaves the company after just a few months

Google has not been quiet in its efforts to build a network of satellites that provide Internet access to the users below. A report earlier this year pegged the company as planning to spend more than $1 billion on satellite programs, while it also acquired satellite imaging company Skybox for $500 million this summer.  According to a new report out of The Information, however, Google’s satellite efforts have just taken a big hit.

satellite Stories June 12, 2014

Just a few days after announcing its $500 million acquisition of satellite imaging company SkyBox, Google is now rumored to be making an investment in yet another satellite company. According to a new report out of Sky News, Google is currently planning to make a roughly $30 million investment in Virgin Galactic. The two companies have reportedly been in negotiations for months now, but have finally reached the “advanced” stages.

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Everyone can use an Echo Dot: Just $50!

satellite Stories June 10, 2014

Satellite company SkyBox just announced that it has been acquired by Google for $500 million. The two have been in talks for several months now, with the deal finally being announced today. SkyBox Imaging is a company that takes high resolution photos using satellites. Google, in a statement, had the following to say about the company:

“Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery. Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in.”

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satellite Stories June 1, 2014

According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, Google is planning to spend more than $1 billion to expand internet access to unwired regions of the world with a fleet of satellites. According to “people familiar with the matter,” Google this time around is hoping that it can overcome financial and technical problems it has faced in the past with this goal.

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satellite Stories February 12, 2014

A behind the scenes look at building a Google Maps satellite

An interesting story from the BBC goes behind the scenes with the satellites that are used to take imagery of earth that eventually land in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Behind a long rectangular window, in a high white room tended by ghostly figures in masks and hats, a new satellite is taking shape. Once in orbit later this year, WorldView-3 will be one of the most powerful Earth observation satellites ever sent into space by a private company. Spinning around the planet some 600 kilometres (370 miles) above us, it will cover every part of the Earth’s surface every couple of days.

Google gets the majority of its imagery from DigitalGlobe and Ball Aerospace is currently constructing new satellites for the company, as highlighted in the BBC report. The new WorldView-3 satellite will be capable of capturing objects 25cm (10 inches) across, but the report notes Google and customers other than the government only get access to “images with a resolution of 50cm (20 inches).” It’s likely much of the updated imagery you see on Google Maps and Earth over the next year will come from the new satellite once in orbit. The whole article is worth a read if you’re interested in learning more about how the satellites are built and capture imagery once in space.

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