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Stratospheric Micro Balloons Are Mapping The Earth

October 17, 2023
x min read

A new type of reusable balloon is aiming to change the way the world gets mapped.

What’s happening:

  • Denver, Colorado based startup Urban Sky has raised $9.75M USD in a Series A financing for their Earth imaging technology
  • The round was led by New Legacy Ventures, Lavrock Ventures, Union Labs VC and others

The big idea:

  • Urban Sky has built small stratospheric balloons that they call ‘micro balloons’ that power their Earth imaging sensory technology
  • Their micro balloons are small enough to deploy from a standard pick up truck and are also reusable for multiple flights
  • Urban Sky’s technology is capable of mapping changes in cities, inspecting energy infrastructure, monitoring crop growth and even helping prevent forest fires

By the numbers:

  • Urban Sky has publicly stated their costs are around $5-$10 per square kilometre for 10 centimetre resolution images
  • Other startups in the imaging space have costs closer to $20-$25 per square kilometre and often with lower resolution

Going deeper:

  • Typical stratospheric imaging companies end their flights by letting the balloon explode and evaporate into the atmosphere
  • Urban Sky is trying to disrupt this idea by being able to successfully land their micro balloons and reuse them for multiple flights

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