SEATTLE - Satellite images from a local company have been helping to show the damage Russia has done to Ukraine. In some cases, entire communities have been reduced to rubble.
BlackSky is based in the Seattle area. Its satellites can take pictures every 90 minutes. Before and after images show what's been happening on the ground in Ukraine daily. In one picture provided to FOX 13, a home improvement store was destroyed in the fighting.
Chief Commercial Officer Amy Minnick says they are able to track the war with the company's 12 high-resolution satellites that circle the planet daily, allowing the satellites to take the image of the same location up to 15 times a day. The company then identifies what has changed in the pictures using an analytic platform.
"We’ve been covering Ukraine for quite some time, prior to the conflict as well as throughout the conflict. What we have been seeing are images and analytics from across the country," said Minnick. "We have one of the largest constellations of high-resolution satellites in the world."
The satellites can also show where military convoys are moving within the country. Minnick says they've been able to identify schools and hospitals that have been destroyed as well.
"We’ve been able to track things like what’s been happening on the civilian side, she said. "We’ve seen disproportionate amounts of home improvement stores impacted, schools impacted, as well as hospitals impacted across the country."
She says the company is also able to determine what's happening at border crossings with the satellite imagery showing a long line of buses carrying refugees, waiting to go across the border.
"This is one of the one of the largest geopolitical, economic and humanitarian crisis of our lifetime," Minnick says. "It is tragic to see what is happening on the ground in Ukraine. We are trying to use all the resources that we can to be able to show what’s happening and also to get that information to people who can help."
"In addition to what we have in our space capability, we are really investing into our analytics and AI capability to turn that, those observations, into information," said Nick Merski, BlackSky Chief Operations Officer.
The satellite imagery also brings to light the way civilians have been targeted or impacted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Satellites have also captured images of apartment buildings on fire. Minnick says that so much infrastructure around the country has been destroyed, there will start to be bigger impacts on commodities and oil and gas supplies as time goes on.
"We monitor shipping locations around the world. One of BlackSky’s capabilities is we monitor local supply chain and seaports. We are monitoring what’s happening in ports across the world."
She says the company works with clients in the government, in nonprofit organizations and at the commercial level.
The satellites that BlackSky uses are produced by LeoStella at a facility in Tukwila. BlackSky is also planning to launch two additional satellites this weekend, bringing the total to 14.
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