With over 200 Earth observation satellites, Planet Labs now operates the largest satellite constellation in history. The San Francisco based startup’s first goal – called Mission 1 – was to image Earth’s entire landmass once per day. That milestone was reached in late 2017. Now, the company wants to turn their data into a search engine of the world via its next mission.
Planet Labs was founded in 2010 by three former NASA engineers: Will Marshall, Robbie Schingler, and Chris Boshuizen. The goal of the company was to make “global change visible, accessible, and actionable.”
In April 2013, Planet launched its first two satellites named Dove 1 and Dove 2. Dove 1 launched aboard the inaugural flight of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket, and Dove 2 launched on a Soyuz 2.1a rocket.
Soyuz 2-1A launch via Roscosmos
Ridesharing with other payloads has been a common strategy for Planet. To date, the company has flown only once on a dedicated mission. This represents a shift from the traditional method used by major satellite operators.
For decades, operators have built large and expensive satellites – requiring launch contracts worth tens of millions. Planet, on the other hand, launches small and far less expensive ...