And this is what we call startup 😉 Axelspace is trying to create just that. The Japanese company has big dreams, and I talked to founder and CEO Yuya Nakamura about his vision for building a space data API anyone can use.
In 2008, the company was founded around a different idea — giving companies the opportunity to have a private satellite orbiting the Earth. It started developing their own microsatellites and working together with partners like the Russian space agency to get them up in the air. For upwards of $35 million in development costs and an additional $2 million to launch it into space, anyone can get their own microsatellite the size of a desktop computer and weighing about 50 kilograms.
50 satellites to photograph the entire world every day
With two satellites launched for a Japanese weather company and the University of Tokyo, Axelspace has already seen some success. For instance, the former opted to go for a custom design that’s able to monitor icebergs in the Arctic Ocean, looking at new trade routes that are opening up due to climate change and informing the maritime industry about them.
Anyone can tap into this mesh network — the company is going to provide paid access to an API that any developer can plug into. The data can be used for various things like counting objects on Earth, detecting changes in specific areas and tracking crop growth — the possibilities seem limitless.
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