How many times have you seen these kinds of shots in movies? A lot! But the difference is that this is the real thing.
Skybox Imaging builds and launches small satellites to shoot video of earth. They claim the above video is the world’s first commercial, high-resolution, HD video of Earth from space. This is 1080p HD so be sure to click on 1080p HD and full screen to see the remarkable details in full resolution. You can see things like cars and planes, but it’s not close enough to see human faces. The views include Tokyo, Bangkok, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Aleppo, Syria.
This satellite, the SkySat-1, is the first of a planned constellation of 24 satellites. At the highest resolution in the video you can see text which indicates markets the company plans to sell the video capabilities to.
Currently the video is can be up to 90 seconds at 30 frames per second. It won’t be long before video producers can order HD video of most any place on earth shot from a satellite.
For many years the satellite business was limited to only a handful of countries. Today countries such as Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia to name just a few are planning satellite launches in the immediate future. To date some 6,600 satellites have been launched. Estimates are that 3,600 of these are still in orbit. About 1,000 are operational.
Typically the launch vehicle is a rocket lifting off from a launch pad on land. Some satellites are launched at sea from a submarine or a mobile maritime platform, or from an airplane.