Silicon Valley Start-Up Skybox Imaging Lends Satellite in Search for Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

A Silicon Valley company is offering some high-tech help in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Mountain View-based Skybox Imaging is a startup in the fairly new, but quickly growing business of satellite imaging that uses technology to take high-resolution video and pictures of what's on the ground from space.

Thursday, NBC Bay Area visited the Skybox operations center to learn from company co-founder Ching-Yu Hu that the satellite designed and made in Northern California is now doing active duty above Malaysia.

"Once we heard about this, we've been tasking our satellite to help with the search,” Hu said, “and taking images and video between Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh City."

With one satellite in use now, and another one set to launch in a couple of months, Skybox, born at Stanford, is taking the space program into the modern age.

The company’s satellite is able to recognize, at a fraction of the cost of larger satellites, virtually anything happening on the ground, delivering the data to customers on their computers.

"And we're doing that by building and launching high-resolution satellites,” Hu said.

Those satellites that might soon find what so many people are looking for.

There is lots of money to potentially be made by gathering data on crops and cities from above.

There are also privacy issues. NBC Bay Area spoke to privacy experts about the topic. So far, satellites from companies like Skybox can't make out faces, or addresses, or license plates, so they haven't seen the scrutiny seen, for example, when Google Street View was introduced.

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