Space: The Next Trillion Dollar Industry
This. Video was made possible by a way get $20, off your away suitcase, by going to away travel calm / Wendover, and using the code Wendover, at checkout, and quickly. Once you finish this video there are two others, to watch a behind the scenes video on my brand new personal, channel and my appearance on Startalk where I appear on camera for the first time both are linked in the description. Suppose. We're in a cave right now this. Is a cave and, there's, maybe ten of us we have a mini, family tribe and I, say you know I want, to go out and see what's on the other side of that mountain we. Can see it from here and then. You say no no we have cave, problems, you have to fix first fix. All the cave problems first then. Even go out on the mountain and, that's. What it sounds like to me when, I hear people say we, have problems on earth let's, fix those before. We go into space and, here's earth this speck of. Dirt. Orbiting. An ordinary, star and there's this vastness, of the universe, that. Is. Waiting for us it. Beckoned. The. Commercial, space industry is, heating up 50, years ago outer space was reserved for the most powerful of nations the most dominant, governments, but, today there's, a democratization. Of, space commercial. Industry is inching us closer to the cosmos and in the process there's a growing interdependence, between what's, happening hundreds. Of miles up in space and down below on earth the, commercial, space industry using. Multimillion-dollar, satellites. And rockets is, increasingly. Playing a part in our everyday lives, you may think of this industry as a new phenomenon, you may have only started hearing about profit, seeking space enterprise in the past few years but, in reality this. Has been going on for, decades. Our. Founder Walter Scott founded. The company in his garage in Palo Alto, 25. Years ago this, is Dan Jablonski he's president of one of the commercial space companies that, you might not have heard of DigitalGlobe. They might not be as flashy as SpaceX or as exciting as Virgin Galactic, but they've been flying satellites since, before Elon, Musk even graduated, college in fact, they, were the very first American, company to be granted a license to take high-resolution.
Pictures From space and that, is essentially, what they do they, take pictures from, space but it's a lot more complicated than it sounds, to, take those images from space you need satellites, and digital. Globe has five of them so the five satellites we have on orbit are GOI one a worldview. One worldview, two worldview three and you're noticing a trend here worldview four the. First of those was launched in 2007. The, most recent was launched in 2016. And they. Have an expected, life of over ten years each and these are really. Good satellites, worldview. For for example digital, Globes newest satellite has a pixel size of twelve inches, that means that this satellite orbiting. 383. Miles above Earth can, clearly see a single, sheet of paper placed, in a parking lot, horizontally. That's like if a camera in Toronto, took a picture that could clearly identify the individual. Eyes of the Statue of Liberty in New York it is insanely. High resolution. With, a 30 centimeter pixel, you can actually pick up road. Markings you can see the lines on the road whether they're straight or dashed lines you can see whether their turn arrows they're whether. There's a stop word. On the road markings you can even pick up some of the traffic signs and traffic light sizes. The potential, uses of such, high quality imagery are endless, but, how do the satellites, even work first, off it's it's good to know that our satellites, are in a low Earth orbit, which means that they actually they don't they're not like a geo satellite, that sits up in a fixed orbit and stays over one place in the planet some satellites, are specifically, designed to stay directly over, one position for their whole service, lives their, orbits are significantly. Higher above, Earth so, the time it takes for them to complete an orbit is exactly, the same as the time it takes the earth to make a full rotation so. Relative. To earth the. Satellite doesn't move at all this, is incredibly. Useful for certain uses like, communications, what, a communications, company launches, a satellite to broadcast TV, or radio or Internet, they want that satellite, to stay over their particular service, area Direct, TV for, example the, American satellite TV company want their satellites, to stay over the US because, that's their service area if they weren't able to put their satellites, into geosynchronous, orbit, they would have to launch enough, satellites, to cover the entire world even, if they were only broadcasting. To the US so. DirecTV. Want their satellites, to stay over one area because, they're broadcasting, to one area but, digital globe on the other hand want, their satellites, to move because, their imaging, the entire, world, at each of our satellites, right now are in Sun synchronous orbits, so, what that means is that the orbital, plane that, the satellite, is flying around and stays in the same orientation relative. To the Sun all, the time simplified. That means that any given satellite, passes over any given location on earth at the exact same time every day worldview, three for example always. Orbits above the points on earth where, it's 10:30, a.m. when. It passes over Denver it's 10:30, in Denver when it passes over Paris it's 10:30 in Paris and when it passes over Tokyo is 10:30. In Tokyo how this works is that essentially, with each pass over the light side of Earth the, orbit advances, relative, to the earth at the same rate as the sunlight advances, this, orbit, type is crucial. Because a lot of what satellite, imaging, is about is detecting. Change from, day to day month, to month or year to year and an image taken at 10:30, a.m. is, going to look very different than one taken at 6:00 p.m. this. Orbit type allows the satellite to pass over the entirety, of Earth once, per day at the same time so, the light conditions, look the same the. Satellites do of course need to be told what to do and that, all comes down to four people in one room so. This is our mission operations, control. Center this, is where we fly the five, satellites on orbit and really. Inside this room is what we consider our time dominant, realtime. Activities, from choosing. Making the final choices of what images we're going to collect in the next several. Minutes to. The next several hours these. Four individuals, are controlling, billions, of dollars, worth of satellites, this whole company, the, thousands, of employees and hundreds, of millions of dollars in revenue all exist, to organize and fund what these four individuals. Are doing sitting. And piloting, the satellites, above in space the, Mission Operations Center.
Is Of course staffed 24/7. Since while it's nighttime in the US it's daytime, in Asia and Australia the, satellite vehicle operators main task is to load plans onto the satellites of which images to take when to, monitor that the satellites are operating, correctly and to assure that the satellites won't collide with other satellites, or space junk the, central, screens at the front showed the current locations, of each of the five satellites, while the one to the left displays other information, such as the total number of times each satellite has orbited around the earth and how much time they have until, the satellite loses signal you see in order for satellites to function, they need to be able to communicate, with the ground and that's, done with ground, stations, these, antennas, communicate, to satellites, using what are essentially, super, high-powered Wi-Fi signals the, ground stations, digital globe users are able to receive about a gigabyte of information, every, second, from the satellites each. Of those antennas around the world see each satellite several, times a day and so, as that as, we, go through the day we accumulate, about seven terabytes of raw imagery, off the satellites, through that gigabit, connection, satellites. Can only communicate with the ground stations, while they have a line of sight with the antenna so due, to the curvature of the earth in the view of any given ground station, the satellite, will eventually, dip below the horizon therefore. Each ground station only has a limited, operating, range the, exact locations, of ground stations are understandably. Kept secret, but if there was one in Germany for example it, would communicate with the digital globe satellites, exclusively. While they passed over Europe, the fact that these satellites have to by nature pass over, the entire world is actually however, quite, useful not, only does this let digital map, the entire world, but, they also use the extra capacity for. Humanitarian. Efforts it's it's. Actually easier for us on the humanitarian, global, development side because, we have much more capacity over, a lot of these areas there's, a lot more demand for, our satellites. Over developed. Countries, for instance right, so people are typically. For commercial, applications much more interested in the, US or Europe or, some of these more, developed areas, versus. Sub-saharan, Africa where we just, generally speaking have much more ability to task the constellation. And to collect those imagery, so it's actually an opportunity for us to support, those use cases much, more of them than others, for, instance digital, globe partners, with the Gates Foundation to map every single building structure, in rural Zambia, so aid workers now know things like how many bed nets vaccines, or food to bring to communities that were previously unmapped. There. Are few companies the size of commercial space companies that, rely on so, few assets, what, makes digital globe for example run, are those, five satellites, and to, get those to space to, the place where they make money they, had to put them on Rockets, which tend to from, time to time blow. Up it's, always a little bit of a nail-biter, as you come up to a launch we. Put an. Enormous, capital, investment, into the satellites, the launch vehicle, and it, all comes down to a one-hour event, lifting, off from the ground and going into orbit and that's a that, can be a little bit of a nerve-wracking, period but certainly a very exciting on the same time an average. Of 1 in 20, rocket, launches fail and then on top of that some, satellites, fail once they reach orbit which makes this space business risky, companies, like digital globe will therefore purchase, enormous, ly expensive, insurance policies, on their satellites, in case the launch or the satellite, itself fails if they didn't one, bad launch could spell the end for the company of course, some, launch providers, are much more reliable, than others United.
Launch Alliance the, launch provider that digital globe used for their current 5 satellites, has not had a launch failure in its 11-year, history insurance. Rates for ula would be relatively low while insurance rates for a newer launch provider such as orbital ATK, or Blue Origin would, be comparatively, high nonetheless the, cost of newer lunch providers, with insurance, included, is now often less than the older more reliable, launch companies but how does digital globe fund their exploits, what, keeps those satellites, flying how. Do, they make their, money our largest customer is the US government, and we've been very proud to be their mission partner for over a, decade. And a half coming up on two decades now it used to be that the commercial satellite, industry was, essentially, focused on one, major customer. Governments. In the, past the US government has been the single largest customer, of the few commercial, space companies that there were things, to its enormous defense spending but, today as commercial, customers, contract, commercial, space companies the, business, is spreading, globally. Over the past decade the customer, base has become more international, and more, diversified, our, other customers are our. International. Customers who who may be, US allies or may be technology, companies across the world we, go deep in the telecommunications. Infrastructure, online, mapping, energy. Industries mining, industries. Forestry. Applications, there's really a huge, variety of customers, but the most obvious ones are those, mapping, companies if you've ever used Google Maps you're, using our imagery if you've ever used Apple, maps you're using our imagery if, you ever look, and do a crowdsourcing. Project in OpenStreetMap, you're using our imagery as well but. Perhaps the single most promising, use of Earth imagery is with autonomous, vehicles, having. Good solid current, satellite imagery, is an integral, part of how autonomous. Vehicles, work these, vehicles can't just rely on their internal sensors to understand, their surroundings, they need, of you from above as, we think about autonomous. Vehicles, it's, not okay to update, the image, once. A quarter once a year even once a week it, needs to be they. Really need imagery, that's coming in much much faster than that to deal with changes. In traffic, conditions changes in roads, crashes. Etc, uber. Which is developing, autonomous, cars is already, a customer of digital globe for navigation, purposes, and as more and more companies move, into the autonomous vehicle, race the competition, between, Earth Observation, companies for their business is likely to heat up there, are plenty of other emerging, uses as well which as an ensemble are, growing, the demand for Earth imagery, day by day it, is a tremendously. Fast-growing, industry, but. Satellite imagery by itself Billy, isn't worth much you, need something, more I would say that our customers, are demanding. More. Actionable. Information, faster. Than ever, translation. Customers. Want, data, they, want the information, embedded in, the images, for, that there's, another company radiant. Solutions. Today. Customers, the big challenge is around, where. It used to be more of hey. We just need to get an answer now it's more of how. Do we deal with all of this all of this data and, how, do we answer to more complex, questions because they are getting more complex, and they're, getting even harder to answer now by virtue, of being inundated with data radiant. Solutions will describe themselves as a geospatial, analytics. Company they, take satellite imagery and translate. It into information, we're. Able to take in vast amount of data and make, sense of it to produce insight they. Answer, big questions a, logging, company might ask a question like what's, the density of trees in this particular, region of Canada before purchasing, new land and radiant, would be able to look at hundreds, or thousands.
Or Millions, of square miles of imagery to tell them how many trees, there are now. With, so much imagery, and such, a big world you can't just do this all by hand at, least economically for, that reason there's been a huge shift in the geospatial analytics. Business for using artificial, intelligence we, hear more and more now that data is kind of like the new oil well. That's that's sort of true but the data has to be, reliable. It has to be high confidence, in the data so. The AI has to be good to, train a machine to find a red car for example you, need to show it thousands, or millions, of examples of what a red car looks like but, it's, very different for a machine to look for a red car in an urban environment as it is to find a red car and snow so. Not only are you training the models to look for that object but, you also have to train. It on where. To find it regionally. It is hugely, complicated, but, that's why these guys are in business to, answer, complicated, questions, some, data however isn't in the visual, spectrum some. Data is hidden but, luckily there's a special, satellite just, for that in the old days it was just please get me good solid. Image pixels to use and I'll go figure out how to use them today. Particularly. In the commercial, space it's. All about information that's. Paul Kennedy, vice-president. Of ground systems, at MDA they've, been in business since. 1969. Their, most visible project, was on developing, the Canada arm for the space shuttles and international, space station as a longtime player in the industry they serve a variety of functions from, developing, space robotics, to building satellite ground stations, a one, of their most valuable, assets, is that special, satellite, radar, Sat 2 while, most earth observation. Satellites, image using the visual, spectrum what, we can see with our own eyes radar. Set to uses, radar, radar, is an active. Pulse. So the satellite actually. Sends. It a beam, of, energy. To the ground and reads. Back. Reads. Back what it gets back, from the earth and that. Gives us a couple of, interesting. Advantages, in in SAR for. One radar, can see through clouds and darkness, it doesn't matter what the light and weather conditions are it's all, the same for radarsat-2, now, MDA. Is a Canadian, company and it's no coincidence that, a Canadian, company operates. This satellite, just, like the US government is a major customer of digital globe the Canadian, government is a major customer, of MDA and here's, the thing about Canada, the, weather is terrible and it's always dark quite, literally in northern Canada where the Sun stays down for the entire winter, it's, no coincidence that, the company that works so closely with the Canadian, government operates. The satellite that can see through clouds, at night without, radarsat-2. The Canadian, government would be blind they would have no way of monitoring, huge, swathes of their territory, in the High Arctic for months out of the year with, new launch providers emerging, such as blue or and, rocket lab and SpaceX, the cost of launching material, into space is plummeting, now, this is useful to these companies at least in some ways with, lower launch costs, digital, globe and MDA can launch more satellites, which means more data for radium solutions, but that also makes it easier for competitors. To launch satellites the. Earth imagery, business is growing, but so is the competition, the, best-known Earth imagery startup, planet, is launching, a constellation, of small, satellites, while digital globe satellites, are the size of a bus planet's. Smallest, are the size of a toaster with. The smaller size development. And launch costs, are lower well in the past, starting a space imagery company, required, hundreds, of millions or billions of dollars in funding the emergence, of small SATs means, that it's enormous, ly easier to break into the satellite imagery business, nowadays but, there is a key, difference between these, two companies digital.
Globe Satellites, capture, imagery with a pixel, size of 12 inches, while, planet's primary, satellite constellation. Captures, imagery, with a pixel size of 10 to 15 feet at a much lower cost there, are certain uses for high-resolution, imagery and there are certain other uses, for low cost imagery, so in some ways these two companies aren't even direct competitors, nonetheless, the, space industry is changing growing. And becoming more competitive so. The established, companies, need, to adapt, United, Launch Alliance knows, that Airbus. Knows that Arian, space knows that and DigitalGlobe. MDA, and radiance, know that too so, they made a change these. Three companies are now what along, with a fourth company a spacecraft, manufacturing, company called SSL, that will be covered in a future video these, are the entities that make, up the newest, powerhouse, in the space technology business. This, merger wasn't necessarily, in response, to heavy competition but, rather at least from an outsider's, perspective a, preemptive. Strike to establish themselves as a major, international. Player before, the commercial, space industry truly. Lifts off increasingly. The. More, traditional, aerospace and defense companies. That, have been supplying technology, in space and. Able to provide the. Performance. But. The, cost has been extremely. High max. R is now a fully, vertically. Integrated. Company in the Earth imagery, space for example they'll do everything from building satellites to operating them to extracting, data from imagery, by performing all the steps in this process internally. Max, R lowers its costs and this also puts them in the same league as Airbus, as one of the very few end-to-end, integrated. Space companies, the. Commercial space industry as, a whole is doing a phenomenal job, of making access, to orbital, space commonplace. The, routine. Steps. Of, space, activities. Are. Slowly, being ceded to. Private. Enterprise they could do it faster better cheaper we're. Now at a place we're launching, a satellite to low Earth orbit, is unexceptional. That's exactly, what we want easy access to space and fournier space that, exists, right now getting. Beyond Earth's orbit though, outside. Our cosmic, neighborhood, into. Deep space that's. Still, tough the, problem is that private, enterprise by, its very nature needs, to make money companies, and their leaders are beholden, to their investors, to make money if they're not then, they're not a company companies, can and do make money with deep space but, only through developing, and building technologies, for NASA and other government agencies there. Is ZERO, commercial. Demand for deep space technology. Today going, to new planets, to new solar systems, exploring. Space that. Really doesn't make money many. People who think about commercial, space I think. They're over predicting. What their role will be they're imagining, commercial space leading. A space frontier, but, to lead a space frontier is expensive, and it's. Not an obvious return. On the investment. You. Might do it as a vanity project there enough billionaires. In the world they could all pool their money Jeff.
Bezos Bill. Gates. Elon. Musk they could do a vanity, project and, send humans, to Mars what. But, that's, not a business model and, it. Would get a lot of attention but is that something you can sustain no it. Would be a one-off. When. People imagine a future of space and industry. They're imagining, a sustained. Business, case of. Course you could have said the same thing about the space race sixty, years ago that, was exploration. However, in the long term it was an investment, that paid off because. Space now, makes, money. Space. Today is an integral, part of what we. Know and what we can do on the surface of the planet. Communications. Imagery. Climate. Science. Defense. And intelligence and security applications all, of those are seamlessly. Enabled, by. Space, technologies. Without. Most, of us who go through our daily lives not, even thinking about it, the. Difference between commercial, enterprise, and governments, is time, commercial. Enterprises, need, to think about investments. That pay off within. The lifetime, of their shareholders, so, you're always thinking, about what. Is the return on the investment you're. Making how. Long will it take you to achieve the. Returns on the investment and. What's the probability, that the R&D you're putting in will. Be successful. While. Companies look at investments, in terms of years governments. Can look at investments, in terms of decades, or centuries because. Governments, transcend, generations, the. Innovation, that will occur by bringing humans to Mars and Beyond will absolutely make, money in the very long term but, right now it would take an enormous amount of money that few people want to risk you, could point to Elon Musk as an exception, to this rule he. More than anyone understands. The value of super, long term investments, like going to Mars but, he also understands. That he's alone in that individuals. Don't want to invest in something that won't make money until after they're dead musk. Has stated that he has no plans, to take SpaceX, public, until after a successful, mission to Mars which, means that for, the moment the company is almost acting. As an organization. He's funneling, the money from launches, which make money into, exploration which. Doesn't government's, need to lead. The. Way because, they have the longer time horizons, that they can think about and. Monetize. When. They do that Oh. Once they lead the way they have now quantified. The risks and you know the costs and where the the, friendlies are and the hospitals, and the whatever, are the things that would compromise. Your mission, they've already figured this out then. If they do it right you then hand that's a private industry that then makes a buck off of it then the government can tax that if, they so choose max. Our technologies, and it's for businesses, meanwhile, absolutely. Innovate including. In deep space technologies. But, they're not going to put the pieces together to go to Mars by themselves, because, that's not a good investment, one. Should be careful to realize that this coming era of commercialized. Space does not necessarily, translate into a renaissance of space exploration. Commercial, industry, is not a substitute for NASA, or the ESA, or any other government institution. They, are collaborators. They, can make the government's, job easier, and cheaper but, they cannot, replace those whose, jobs are to go where no human has gone before the next few decades and centuries, can be the era of space exploration, before. That you need a public you, need an electorate, that understands, that anything, good anything truly. Worthwhile takes. Time. There. Are so many things I have to give for help with this video but, one is - a way not, only for making this video possible through. Sponsorship, but also for literally carrying, my possessions, over, the 15,000. Miles I traveled while making this video and unfortunately. That number is not a mistake I've, now owned by a suitcase, for almost a year have, traveled all over the world with it and I love, it the suitcase, is just solidly, built you can feel it and has a built in yet removable, battery a laundry, bag a laptop, sleeve and a compression system, so you can pack more into, a smaller space best.
Of All for how good it is the away suitcase, is sold, an amazing, price and it's at an even more amazing price, if you go to a way travel calm slash Wendover, and use the code Wendover, at checkout to get $20, off your away. Suitcase, they're so confident, that you'll love the product that all away suitcases, have a lifetime, warranty and a hundred day unconditional, return policy, it's quite literally no risk and they made this enormous, video, possible, so if you need a suitcase for life checkout, away travel calm slash Wendover, and use the code Wendover, at checkout I also have to give a huge thanks to max our technologies, especially Kristen, Karen jure and Turner Brinton, for letting me film this video as, it takes an enormous amount of work to allow cameras, into such a high security, environment. Lastly. As I mentioned at the beginning I appeared on neil degrasse tyson's show star talk and also launched a new personal, channel where i made a behind-the-scenes, video for, that appearance both, are linked in the description and, on screen now thanks. Again for watching and I'll see you again in three weeks for, another Wendover, productions, video.