Google+ SpaceTravelFoundation: 2014-05-25

May 28, 2014

Web companies come in the space race

Dear readers and followers,

Web companies such as Google and Facebook from the Silicon Valley ramp up efforts to connect the world to their services, they are increasingly looking to the skies and higher.

At Google, several signs point to satellites. Actually, Previously Google bought drone-maker Titan Aerospace last month and now it's in talks to buy Skybox Imaging, a startup that creates high-resolution satellite images, for $1 billion. 
Moreover, last month, Google hired Brian Holz, who was chief technology officer at O3b Networks, which has launched special satellites to try to broadcast signals that would power new Internet service in developing countries around the world. Google had previously made a financial investment in O3b and one of its employees sits on O3b’s board. The startup’s recently-launched satellites faced technical setbacks this year.

Google also recently hired Dave Bettinger, who had spent 18 years at satellite firm VT iDirect, which supplies high speed broadband and other communications to military services and the oil and gas industry, according to people at Google. VT iDirect also suffered some product delays recently.

The two apparently go hand-in-hand for Google which uses high-resolution satellite images for Google Maps and its business-to-business branch, Earth Enterprise, which creates maps for companies, according to TechCrunch. Previously Google was also looking at other satellite imaging companies such as Planet Labs, but has now zeroed in on the Mountain View, Calif. company.


Skybox previously raised $70 million in 2012 and was valued around $600 million, but Google's reported $1 billion is making the deal happen, according to an unnamed TechCrunch source.

“A constellation of small imaging satellites, like what we already have in place today with RapidEye or what Skybox may have in the future, would give Google a very reliable, rich content source for imagery analytics and related applications,” Scott Soenen, CTO at another satellite company, BlackBridge, told TechCrunch.

Stay tuned

May 26, 2014

Student built rocket took off from the Bonneville salt flats, Utah

Credit image: NASA - Dusty hood 

A student-built rocket took off from the brilliant white hardpan of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Tooele County, Utah, May 17th 2014 during the Student Launch rocketry competition. 
Sixteen teams, comprised of some 250 student participants from 15 states, launched rockets of their own design, complete with three working science and engineering payloads apiece, cheered on by approximately 500 spectators.

NASA Student Launch is an annual education event, designed to inspire young people to pursue studies and careers in the science, technology, engineering or mathematics field. The event is organized by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and sponsored by ATK Aerospace Group of Magna, Utah. The grand-prize-winning school team will be named by NASA and ATK in late May.