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This Earth-i Small Satellite's 1st Color Video of Earth from Space Is Amazing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The British Earth-imaging company Earth-i has released its first full-color video of Earth from space taken by its commercial satellite VividX2, which launched in January.

The color video includes clips of different locations around the globe from what Earth-i calls "the world's first commercial satellite able to provide full-colour video of life on Earth." Those views include airplanes in motion at Dubai International Airport; cars driving in Buenos Aires, Argentina; and a ship leaving port in Trondheim, Norway. [See Earth From Space: Classic NASA Photos]

"Commercial color video from space represents a major breakthrough for our industry and a world first," Earth-i CEO Richard Blain said in a statement. "This initial footage shows what is now possible — with more videos being acquired every day. The depth and quality of data we can now acquire takes Earth Observation-based big data analytics to a new level. The way we capture video allows for a broader range of contextual insights to be derived than is possible with traditional still imagery." 

This still image from Earth-i's first color video by the VividX2 satellite shows airplanes at the Dubai International Airport as seen from orbit. (Image credit: Earth-i)

Earth-i unveiled the new video here Monday (April 16) at the 34th Space Symposium, where the company is demonstrating the VividX2 satellite's ability to capture up to 2 minutes of video of a target with its ultra-high-definition camera as it flies overhead. 

VividX2 weighs about 220 lbs. (100 kilograms) and measures roughly 1 cubic meter (35 cubic feet). It orbits Earth at an altitude of nearly 314 miles (505 kilometers) and a speed of about 15,658 mph (25,200 km/h). The satellite launched into orbit on Jan. 12  as one of 31 payloads on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

An artist's illustration of Earth-i's small VividX2 satellite in orbit. The satellite can capture color video of targets from space. (Image credit: Earth-i)

Fourth dimension: motion and time

According to Earth-i's statement, VividX2's capabilities include the following:

  • "The provision of high definition images and color video with resolutions better than one meter for any location on Earth.
  • "The ability to capture and analyze moving objects such as vehicles, vessels and aircraft in Ultra High Definition color video.
  • "Revisiting the same location multiple times per day with agile satellites that can be pointed to image specific areas of interest and acquire high-frame-rate imagery.
  • "Rapid tasking of satellites to take images or video, and fast data download within minutes of acquisition. Delivering additional contextual depth of information from motion and time – the 4th dimension."

The current VividX2 mission is the product of a collaboration of Earth-i, the U.K. Ministry of Defence, the U.K. Defence Science and Technology Laboratories and U.K.-based company Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Leonard David is author of "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet," published by National Geographic. The book is a companion to the National Geographic Channel series "Mars." A longtime writer for, David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook or Google+. This version of the story published on

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