A couple of years ago, I brought you guys news that Star Citizen was collaborating with a company called MyRadar that makes a weather app for phones. It’s a terrestrial weather app but has a twist. The CEO of MyRadar, Andy Green also happens to be a Star Citizen backer so he decided to add some of the in game planets into MyRadar and this partnership with Cloud Imperium Games was announced 2 years ago at CitizenCon.
Well, that collaboration has continued, and today we bring you exclusive news of its latest evolution, an evolution which will see MyRadar and Star Citizen going to space properly! MyRadar is launching a satellite into space and in a crazy twist, the Star Citizen backer decided that he would put the Star Citizen logo on the satellite itself so that it will make Star Citizen the first videogame in space! This is no glory project and as you'll see in the video and interview below, has real world implications that will help real people.
This news obviously comes ahead of this year’s CitizenCon event tomorrow which we’ll be covering. Let’s just say that a weather app with in game weather may just prove useful in future versions if some of the rumours circulating are to be believed...
For now though, I got to ask Andy Green a few questions about the satellite that MyRadar will be launching. They've made a video talking a bit about it and from the (admittedly little) I understand about real world space and satellite’s this sounds amazing. Check the video out here:
Wccftech: Space! It's amazing, what the Star Citizen community is doing and launching a satellite is unbelievable! Given MyRadar is a weather app, can I assume that the satellite will be for giving you guys more granular data to use within the app?
Andy Green: This first satellite is an introductory satellite that will be a testbed for the aviation side of our business; it will listen to aircraft tracking signals from space and transmit them back down to the ground. This is incredibly helpful as present day infrastructure requires an aircraft to be in range of a ground-based tracking station in order to receive timely information on it. Receiving the signals from space will allow us to track trans-oceanic aircraft, which would have been a tremendous help locating some high-profile missing aircraft tragedies in the last decade.
Our second satellite, already in development, will be our testbed for weather-related sensing. It will look down upon the earth using a patent-pending imaging technique, and the data we get back from the observations will help with everything from hurricane predictions to agricultural analysis.
W: How did the idea to launch your own satellite first come about? I can't imagine that many other weather companies have their own satellites.
AG: Essentially, we saw a gap in the ability to provide some of the data we're about to start collecting with the new satellites, and with launch costs coming down and our in-house technical capabilities up to the challenge, we decided to move ahead and launch our own. The aircraft tracking data will be able to provide an important safety service that frankly should have been in place long ago, and the weather/environmental observation satellite with its unique image processing will give us some incredible insight that no one else is able to provide. We'll be able to provide all of this data through the MyRadar app to the millions of people who use it every day, including the ability to task satellites to take custom imagery.
W: What type of satellite is it? Who makes it? What company will launch it?
AG: We are engineering and building both satellites in-house. The first satellite is a pocket-cube satellite. It'll be launching into space very shortly on the Rocket Labs "We're Running Out of Fingers" mission, with our launch partner Alba Orbital. The launch window opens this month on November 28th
W: I assume given it's a satellite, it'll have lots of sensing equipment in it, which ship would you most closely associate it with from Star Citizen? The Carrack perhaps as an explorer?
AG: Given its smaller size and specific mission, I think I'd most closely associate it with the Terrapin! It's designed to hide out quietly in space, slipping "under the radar", and its main mission is to track other vehicles and relay that data back to command ?
W: Star Citizen stuff, what specific artwork will be going up on the satellite? Will it be on
the outside? Inside? Both?
AG: The cubesat will have the Star Citizen logo emblazoned on the exterior of one size of the satellite. Check out this promo video we made where you can see it!
W: Do you REALLY need a satellite for myradar or is this just your way of getting in to space while we wait for affordable commercial space travel??
AG: As the initial satellites are just the testbeds, their early-stage purpose is to establish the workflow and proof of concepts, but both of them will still be fully functional. It's the intention to launch a constellation of the satellites to allow us more global coverage for both services each satellite was designed to address.
In the case of the aircraft tracker (the one launching soon), this is part of ACME AtronOmatic, LLC's original core business (ACME is the parent company of the MyRadar app). MyRadar currently provides aircraft tracking services as well as arrival and departure delay information, gate information, and other flight details that can assist both the casual traveler and aircraft pilots/operators.
In the case of the weather/environmental satellite, the new types of imagery we'll be able to collect will, among a plethora of other tasks, be able to look inside the eye wall of a hurricane with a 3D perspective, allowing us to get greater details on the intensity and temperatures at the center of these storms. This data can then in turn be used as inputs to existing forecast models to provide for greater accuracy in tracking these deadly storms. The satellite will also be equipped with a visual-spectrum camera, so we'll be able provide both the custom data imaging and regular visual imaging of the earth below, and we'll be able to offer these on-demand to users right from the app.
Check out the MyRadar app here: