|Beaton Park, Perth (Skybox image)|
a slew of Bay Area startups have begun launching small, relatively inexpensive satellites into space. They lug powerful cameras that send back pictures and video, and those images soon could dramatically change the way we perceive our orbital home.The Bay Area is home to leading companies in video streaming, cloud computing, and social networking. The commercialization of outer space is where those businesses were ten years ago, that is, unknown to the general public.
A satellite that once cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build and launch is now doable for a tiny fraction of that amount. And there's plenty of money to be made selling satellite photos, as well as the data they impart, to governments, analytical firms -- and even huge retailers such as Wal-Mart, who could see things like traffic flow in its parking lots every day of the year.
"Satellite Valley"---few people have any idea what it's going to look like, but it's going to be big, and it's going to be important.