The latest news from the Terra Bella team
SkySat-4-7 First Light
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Today, we’re excited to share the first on-orbit images from our four newest high-resolution imaging satellites, SkySat-4-7, which were successfully launched aboard an
Arianespace Vega rocket
from French Guiana on September 15, 2016. The following images of Google headquarters in Mountain View, Rome, Amsterdam, and Algeciras
Spain are untuned and uncalibrated.
This was our first multi-spacecraft deployment and we’re pleased that SkySat-4-7 has joined our three on-orbit satellites, SkySat-1-3, which have now collected over 100M images since their respective launches!
Now with the world’s largest commercial constellation of high-resolution Earth imaging satellites, we are excited to continue capturing high-cadence information about our changing world.
Onwards and Upwards!
SkySat-4 image over Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA on September 23, 2016
SkySat-5 image over Rome, Italy on September 23, 2016
SkySat-6 image over Amsterdam, Netherlands on September 19, 2016
SkySat-7 image over
Spain on September 23, 2016
SkySat-3 First Light
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Last week, SkySat-3 was successfully launched aboard ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket into a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit. We captured our first image less than 72 hours after launch and are excited to share an early image of Chicago taken on June 25, 2016 at 10:40AM local time.
Since inception, we have taken great pride in the diverse, hard-working team we’ve built here at Terra Bella.
Each and every member of our team has played an integral part in accomplishing this significant milestone -- from building spacecraft radios, to writing imaging analysis algorithms, to managing our growing fleet of satellites.
Moments like this are a good reminder that great things can happen with a small and dedicated team.
We’d like to thank our extended team, including ECAPS, Earth2Orbit, SSL and ISRO, for helping us get to this point.
Stay tuned for more (product and rocket) launch updates.
Onwards and upwards!
Ching-Yu Hu on behalf of the Terra Bella team
SkySat-3 image over Chicago taken on June 25, 2016 at 10:40AM local time
Download full image
PSLV rocket footage from launch
Terra Bella University CubeSat Partnership
Thursday, April 21, 2016
Discovery, learning and fresh-thinking have shaped our culture since we began 6 years ago. While our name has changed, our values haven’t and we continue to look for ways to stimulate new ideas and empower new generations of engineers.
contracted to procure a Minotaur C launch vehicle
in 2014, we had the opportunity to make use of the small amount of spare capacity on board. We considered everything from building a set of small technology demonstration CubeSats ourselves to selling the slots commercially.
However, it’s a tradition in the aerospace industry to support research and education by making this spare capacity available to University CubeSat programs and the idea of partnering with some of these incredible groups was what excited our team the most. These partnerships give the students and staff a rare opportunity to fly their spacecraft and provides us with an opportunity to give back to the community.
We are thrilled to announce that we have reached agreements with three University programs to do exactly this - Georgia Tech’s RANGE,
University of Colorado’s MinXSS
Saint Louis University’s Copper-2
missions will all fly on our upcoming Minotaur C launch alongside Terra Bella’s second generation satellites.
Georgia Tech’s RANGE CubeSats
Georgia Tech’s Ranging and Nanosatellite Guidance Experiment (RANGE) mission seeks to demonstrate an order-of-magnitude improvement in absolute orbital position knowledge compared with traditional CubeSats and inter-satellite distance measurement with mm-level precision. Consisting of two 1.5U spacecraft flying in formation, it will achieve this using a range of cutting edge technologies including satellite laser ranging.
University of Colorado’s MinXSS CubeSat
The University of Colorado’s Miniature X-Ray Solar Spectrometer (MinXSS) mission seeks to improve our understanding of the energy distribution of solar flare soft X-ray (SXR) emissions and their impact on Earth’s ionosphere, thermosphere, and mesosphere. Aside from the scientific significance, MinXSS will demonstrate a variety of technologies including compact 3-axis attitude control and a miniature and a high-performance x-ray spectrometer.
St. Louis University's Copper-2 CubeSat
Saint Louis University’s Copper-2 mission seeks to flight-test a neural network for automated event detection and response. The neural network will be trained to detect interesting and unexpected science events (in images and on-board telemetry), and the spacecraft will record these events.
All three missions also have a primary mission to stimulate and develop the next generation of students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through hands on technical experience. CubeSat projects present a unique opportunity for these students to go through an entire engineering project lifecycle and this partnership provides them the unique opportunity to see their work fly in space.
At Terra Bella, we’re excited to work with these inspiring teams of students, teachers, scientists and engineers. We feel privileged to be in a position to give something back to the engineering community and look forward to finding more opportunities to do so in the future.
We would like to thank our commercial partners in this project - Spaceflight Services, Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems and TZero Consulting.
Posted by Jonny Dyer, Chief Engineer
Introducing Terra Bella
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Seven years ago, we started Skybox Imaging with the vision of a new era in space technology. Small satellites with big capabilities are no longer a dream. Today, two years and nearly 100,000 images separate us from the launch of our first satellite, SkySat-1.
As we have engaged with thousands of potential users, we have been struck over and over again by a simple truth. There is an incredible opportunity for geospatial information to transform our ability to meet the economic, societal, and humanitarian challenges of the 21st century, but satellite imagery represents only one part of the puzzle.
As proud as we are to have played a leading role in developing satellite technologies, we have realized that our vision extends far beyond boxes in the sky. As Google revolutionized search for the online world, we have set our eyes on pioneering the search for patterns of change in the physical world. In order to focus firmly on the future, we’re pursuing that vision under a new name –
We will continue building spacecraft. Today, we have more than a dozen satellites under development that will continue to demonstrate state-of-the-art capabilities and are scheduled to launch over the next few years.
However, as a Google company now, we are also now working with a wide array of geospatial data sources, machine learning capabilities, and experts that we could not have imagined as an independent start up company. These resources will give us a unique ability to transform raw imagery into data to help people and organizations make more informed decisions.
In the coming year, we look forward to sharing more about the products we are developing and how users will be able to access them.
In the meantime, join our
or follow our
to keep posted about this next chapter of our journey. We’re growing our team in 2016 and are looking for new talent to tackle challenges from machine learning and data science to hardware design and flight operations, so check out our job postings on
Onwards and upwards!
Posted by Founders—Dan Berkenstock, John Fenwick, and Ching-Yu Hu
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