“We set out to explore the moon and instead discovered the Earth.” – Photographer William Anders
When photographer William Anders snapped Earthrise — one of the most iconic images of our time — more than fifty years ago, he seemed to immediately absorb the out-of-this-world benefits of gaining new perspectives on our home planet from space. After this photo was taken and circulated worldwide, the world was forever changed. It reminded humans that our home is a fragile beauty. Earthrise is credited for sparking the environmental movement we know today.
At Virgin Orbit, we align with this vision: the core of our mission is to improve life on planet Earth by the technologies we help to advance in space. Toward this goal, we are proud to partner with values-driven firms who are at the cutting edge of eco-responsibility. Over the past several months, we have made several announcements that highlight this work in a variety of ways, from customers to investments and beyond. This Earth Day, we are celebrating some of the Earth-forward work being done by these companies, beyond the atmosphere.
Earth-observation data enables continuous monitoring of the environment, work which has been advanced by Polish company SatRevolution’s intelligence gathering satellites that have launched from two different Virgin Orbit missions. These tiny but mighty satellites empower agriculture, improving agricultural yield and reducing environmental risks through satellite imagery captured by SatRev and its partners. The company collaborates with state and local governments and various business organizations, which receive information to make smart planning decisions. The data facilitates care of the urban environment by detecting and reacting to potential threats, empowering organizations by surfacing intelligence about natural disaster predictions (like flooding and wildfires) and critical infrastructure monitoring.
A recent partnership with Space Forge, which will launch their first satellite with Virgin Orbit systems later this year, is not just environmentally focused by what they will do in space, but how they’re doing it. Space Forge and Virgin Orbit share values of democratizing space and pioneering responsive and responsible launch technologies. Further building alliances through a common ethos, the firms will launch from Spaceport Cornwall, whose ambitions to become a world leader in responsible launch offers a real-world example of a global shift in environmental space practice. Space Forge is at the forefront of pioneering sustainable on the ground operations, from horizontal, lower impact, launch technologies, to on-orbit services minimizing the environmental impacts of manufacturing.
As William Anders conferred more than 5 decades ago – thinking outside Earth’s current orbit can dramatically advance our approach to global challenges including the climate crisis. Virgin Orbit pledges to continue activating satellite launches and launching technological advances that help monitor and improve environmental impact at home – constantly leveraging space to improve life on planet Earth.