Urban Sky Enters in Stratospheric Microballoons Business

Urban Sky Enters in Stratospheric Microballoons Business

Urban Sky Enters in Stratospheric Microballoons Business

Colorado: A Colorado-based company named Urban Sky, which is focused on acquiring data and images of the Earth by using small stratospheric balloons, announced its entry in commercial operations after three years of operating in raising funding and stealth. The company is finally ready to serve its clients with its new balloons that can be used from the back of a pick up truck and ascended in just a few minutes in the sky.

The company provides its high-altitude microballoons that can easily float to the stratosphere carrying a tiny payload. It can also maintain a consistent position over a wide area. These balloons are set to ultimately inflate and turn into the size of a Volkswagen bus at launch. They gradually turn to the size of a small car in a garage when present in the air. They are much smaller than an usual stratospheric balloon, which can easily engulf an entire football stadium when inflated.

Urban Sky is planning to use its novel technology for various aspects, such as storm-related property damage, environmental changes, real-time wildfire monitoring, and similar other activities at a relatively low cost, as compared to satellite imagery. The company’s founders declared that after conducting nearly 50 flight tests, they are finally ready to install their product on a regular basis, thereby delivering images with resolution of about 10 centimeters per pixel. The company’s technology has matured and if a customer calls and says that he/she wants imagery over the Rocky Mountain, it can easily use the balloon to go and get the same.

The company’s origin can be dated back to StratEx, an innovative program that was created by Alan Eustace, the former Google executive. It resulted in him conducting the world’s largest skydive from underneath a stratospheric balloon. Urban Sky and Antonio co-founder Jared Leidich mentioned that he had worked together on the project that first unveiled them to stratospheric balloons. During the development process, the team used to fly small balloons consisting of GoPros next to massive balloons for monitoring purposes.

Moreover, Leidich and Antonio moved on to another company called World View which is planning to utilize larger stratospheric balloons for monitoring the Earth and sending tourists to the stratosphere on joyrides. The pair eventually broke off to develop their own high-altitude balloon company. Their main aim is to mimic the trajectory of the satellite industry where heavy payloads have miniaturized in the last few decades.

Companies, such as Spire and Planet are also developing entire constellations for Earth monitoring and imaging by using small standardized satellites named CubeSats that are about the size of a shoebox. Urban Sky, on the other hand, wants to launch more systems frequently as they move ahead with their goal. The company announced that it is thinking of experimenting with high refresh rates.

Furthermore, the company is not planning to launch in areas of international conflicts as these balloons are meant to be retrieved. It mentioned that the balloons can be launched anywhere from land. It is planning to launch from over water in the future. The company is currently operating in Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Texas. It is also planning to expand its presence across the U.S. The company has not released the cost chart of operating its novel system. However, it mentioned that the cost of its imagery system begins at US$ 6 per square kilometer.

Urban Sky wants to be nearly 5 to 10 times affordable than the present average cost of Earth monitoring and data collection. It wants to act as a low-cost option for each specific use cases.

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