San Jose-based Hera Systems has revealed plans to launch the first of the company’s satellites that will capture high-resolution Earth images and video in near-real time. An initial round of investment funding sees them set to begin initial launches in October 2016, making it the only company capable of collecting near real-time, one-meter and higher resolution imagery and video of any location on the globe. The products will also be supported with analytics and derived information, easily accessible via mobile applications.
“What we’ve learned from talking with customers and watching this industry closely for the past 16 years is that people don’t want to go to multiple providers for their imagery and analytics needs,” said Bobby Machinski, CEO of Hera Systems. “Today’s customers want and expect a variety of features and intelligent analytics capabilities from a single source – and they expect a very high value for every dollar spent.”
Hera Systems recently completed its Series A round of investment funding, with Firsthand Capital as the lead investor. Over the 12 months, the Hera Systems have focussed on developing the spacecraft design and its capabilities, including communications systems and protocols, and the basic architecture for secure data-cloud and supporting web services.
Since the funding, Hera Systems has completed the development of a mockup satellite that demonstrates its technology, construction and the required commitments to launch the initial constellation. Hera Systems successfully completed the preliminary design review for the spacecraft – a key engineering and business milestone – late last month.
The company’s initial constellation will comprise nine ‘sun-synchronous’ satellites with inclined orbit capabilities to enable coverage of the entire globe and at varying times during the day. Hera Systems intend to expand this constellation to include up to 48 satellites, capable of providing near-hourly updates.
“In the coming weeks, we will announce additional plans for satellites beyond our one-meter system, as well as major partnering arrangements we’re securing with customers,” said Machinski. “Right now, we’re focused on securing additional funding to get us through the next milestones that get us closer to launch.” As Hera Systems prepares for its next round of investments, it is already accepting convertible funding notes.
Hera Systems’ staff currently includes nearly 30 team members and Machinski expects to double his team’s size within the next 12 months.