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PraedSt
2008-Oct-23, 07:34 AM
I have a business plan twinkling in my eye, and I was wondering if I could get some input from you kind lads and lasses.

Regarding the data collected from space observatories, probes, orbiters, landers, etc:

1. Is it owned and sold just like any other product?
2. If so, how is the digital piracy problem addressed?

I am of course trying to work out if data alone would be a valuable enough commodity for a private company to acquire. (As opposed to real estate, solar energy, asteroids, etc.)

Thanks!

tusenfem
2008-Oct-23, 11:26 AM
Hey PraedSt!

Usually, the data from missions "belong" to the PI (primary investigator) institute. In the cases I am familiar with I can give the following examples:
- Galileo magnetometer data - IGPP UCLA (but now PDS)
- Venus Express magnetometer data - SRI Austrian Academy of Sciences
- Cluster plasma data - CNRS Toulouse

However, usually there is an agreement that the data become "public property" after a certain time. Like I mentioned for the Galileo data, these all get transferred to the Planetary Data System (http://pds-ppi.igpp.ucla.edu/), which now maintains and distributes these (and lots of other data).

There are similar websites, e.g. for the Cluster and DoubleStar community.

Now, for THEMIS it is even more straightforward, because those data are made available "immediately" through the THEMIS website (http://themis.ssl.berkeley.edu).

So, I you must come with something very special if you want to make money here, coz all the data is available for free!!! Which naturally also means that there is no digital piracy. The only way to make money here is if you would develop a tool (e.g. like the UCLA "splash" program) which can read various kinds of input files from various kinds of missions (i.e. txt, flatfile, cdf, etc.) and the tools to manipulate the data, but then again, a lot of these things are ALSO available for free from the various mission websites.

Sorry to ruin your dream of making fast money from space.

PraedSt
2008-Oct-23, 02:02 PM
Hi tusenfem. Great answer, thank you!

But you'll be happy to know that you haven't crushed my plan. These probes cost a lot of money from start to finish. Governments are, indirectly, paying for acquiring the data, it's just that they're not making any profits out of it.

If the entire process can be done with greater efficiency, my idea is to build the probe, own the data, and then sell it. NASA, for example, would then end up with the same research raw material, for less money.

You'd have to start out small of course. Perhaps Earth observation satellites, or lunar orbiters to begin with. There are two companies who already do this, GeoEye (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GeoEye) and Spot Image (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spot_Image). I was thinking of taking it further.

Think it'll work?
I hear everyone mumbling NO... :)

p.s. Yes, I realise I'll have to kill Google somewhere along the way...:whistle:

loglo
2008-Oct-26, 04:53 AM
Transorbital (http://www.transorbital.net/TB_mission.html) seem to think they can make money from such ventures.

mugaliens
2008-Oct-26, 12:48 PM
So, I you must come with something very special if you want to make money here, coz all the data is available for free!!!

And while pockets of that data may be well organized, the data as a whole is incredibly mishappen, with conflicting formats, different time/positional bases, etc.

Put simply, it's a mess!


Which naturally also means that there is no digital piracy. The only way to make money here is if you would develop a tool (e.g. like the UCLA "splash" program) which can read various kinds of input files from various kinds of missions (i.e. txt, flatfile, cdf, etc.) and the tools to manipulate the data...

Reading the data from other websites is a start, but it's not the best solution.


...but then again, a lot of these things are ALSO available for free from the various mission websites.

Along with the same incongruity of formats, nomenclature, etc. ie, still a mess.

Money is to be made in a four-pronged effort:

1. Normalization of all the data, so that it's stored in a common format.

2. Duplication/improvement of existing tools that would give others an incentive for using your site instead of their proprietary ones.

3. The creation of export tools so that the data could be exported to any format.

4. Leveraging economies of scale such that it would be cheaper for these myriads of agencies to purchase your services than it would be for them to handle their data in house.


Sorry to ruin your dream of making fast money from space.

Far from it. By pointing out what is available, you also highlighted what's not available.

PraedSt
2008-Oct-27, 08:14 AM
Transorbital (http://www.transorbital.net/TB_mission.html) seem to think they can make money from such ventures.

Thanks for that link loglo. Just what I had in mind. Oh hang on...that means someone's beating me to it...rats :(


Money is to be made in a four-pronged effort

Thanks Mugs. I'd be interested to know what you think of the first part of my plan (making the probes ourselves and selling the results). If you have time :)

astromark
2008-Oct-27, 09:12 AM
I do not want to rain on your parade but. Refocus your efforts. You can not sell what is not yours. If that is still legal I would be surprised. Ownership of data streams is acceptable if you get it yourself. It must be yours to sell. Your question I feel is sadly misguided.

" 1. Is it owned and sold just like any other product?" No., and yes.
Information and knowledge are not always in a sell able form. If you have information that is wanted or is marketable then Yes you could be onto a money tree. Good luck to you., but you are not alone...

PraedSt
2008-Oct-27, 10:15 AM
I do not want to rain on your parade but. Refocus your efforts. You can not sell what is not yours.

Oh no astromark. I totally agree with you. My plan is to get the data streams myself. Design, build, launch and manage probes. Collect the data, then sell it to all 190+ countries in the UN.

mugaliens
2008-Oct-27, 08:37 PM
I'd be interested to know what you think of the first part of my plan (making the probes ourselves and selling the results). If you have time :)

So longer as governments are willing to pay for those probes in the interest of science, then post that data for the taking, I say let 'em.

PraedSt
2008-Oct-27, 08:53 PM
So longer as governments are willing to pay for those probes in the interest of science, then post that data for the taking, I say let 'em.

You mean like a space data Napster? :eek: That would kill my evil scheme :(
But wait, governments can't do illegal things can they? Hmmm... :think: