Why is Planet Labs Inc, US-based earth imaging startup in news?« Back to Questions List

Planet Labs Inc. is a San Francisco based startup. It is an earth imaging private company that operates 149 satellites, the most by any company in the world. The company develops Doves, Triple-Cubesat miniature satellites. The Doves are then launched into their orbits as passengers on other rocket launch missions.  Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) created a world record on 15 February 2017 by launching 104 satellites into their orbits on a single rocket. Of these 104 satellites, 88 belonged to Planet Labs Inc. The mission helped the company also claim a place in the record books.  Each Dove satellite continuously scans the earth. With the successful launch, company is now able to scan and image the entire earth on daily basis. The up-to-date data provided by Doves can be used for disaster monitoring and response, climate monitoring, urban planning, crop yield assessment and various other purposes. 

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Planet Lab in 2011 set the bold mission of imaging the entire Earth every day. The mission needed extraordinary efforts in designing and developing miniaturized satellites, reducing cost involved in designing, developing, launching and maintaining, building a network of ground stations with automated control systems and developing software to support the customers for meaningful assessment of the images. With the constellation of 149 satellites, the company has successfully implemented the mission. During the process, in July 2015 Planet Labs acquired BlackBridge.  On February 3, 2017, The company announced acquiring Terra Bella, a subsidiary company of Google and its SkySat satellite constellation. It entered into a multi-year agreement with Google  to sell  SkySat imaging data. 

The massive data being collected would enable the humanity to face many of the world’s greatest challenges. Google, Microsoft, Facebook and many other companies depend on satellites for various services like Maps, cloud services etc.  Satellite imagery is vital in various fields like defense, agriculture, oil exploration, engineering, insurance etc. The nature of information and volume of data that can be provided by Planet Inc has placed the company in a unique position.  

Escape velocity and satellites.

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