‘Businesses Will Not Be Able to Hide’: Spy Satellites May Give Edge From Above

Smallsats and artificial intelligence are having an important impact on the change detection market in Earth Observation. This article published in the New York Times uses Euroconsult’s data to illustrate how start-ups like Orbital Insight, Descartes Labs, Space-Know and HawkEye 360 are creating value in this market.

[Excerpt] SAN FRANCISCO — In October, the Chinese province of Guangdong — the manufacturing center on the southern coast that drives 12 percent of the country’s economy — stopped publishing a monthly report on the health of its local factories.

For five consecutive months, this key economic index had shown a drop in factory production as the United States applied billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese exports. Then, amid an increasingly bitter trade war between the United States and China, the government authorities in Beijing shut the index down.

A small start-up in San Francisco began rebuilding the index, lifting information from photos and infrared images of Guangdong’s factories captured by satellites orbiting overhead. The company, SpaceKnow, is now selling this information to hedge funds, banks and other market traders looking for an edge.

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