The USGS's Landsat mission has an incredible 40-year record of the planet's changing landscape, with virtually every spot imaged every eight days. It's an incredible scientific asset. But what if you could see every bit of the globe, every single day? That opens a new range of possible uses for satellite imagery.
The 2-year-old company is launching dozens—71 so far—minisatellites, a veritable swarm (or flock, as they call it) of nimble imagers. This is a major departure from the prevailing model of designing a single, tremendously powerful (and expensive) Earth-observing satellite and rigorously testing it for years before launching it.