When Planet acquired the SkySat constellation from Google in 2017, we set to work redesigning the complex infrastructure needed to task, collect and deliver imagery. We gave customers an experience that is highly automated and responsive so they can worry about insights, not satellites.
Today we are announcing a new rapid revisit capability that empowers our customers to capture imagery of a single location on Earth up to 12 times per day.
This new capability will be enabled by two upcoming SpaceX Falcon 9 launches that will deliver six new SkySats into space. The first three are scheduled for launch in the coming weeks, and the next three in July. The six SkySats will be placed into orbit planes inclined at 53 degrees, and will double the average revisits over any point on Earth.
For certain locations, especially those near 53 degrees latitude, we will capture imagery up to 12 times during the day, and at the global level, we will have an average of 7 revisits per day. This capability, combined with improved 50 cm imagery and a new Tasking Dashboard, will unlock unprecedented visibility into activities across the world and create a new paradigm for Earth observation.
Planet partnered closely with SpaceX to find near-term launch opportunities, which was not difficult given the company’s ambitions for their Starlink broadband satellites. By dovetailing with their launch schedule, we readied the satellites, built a new rocket interface, designed a new commissioning schedule (due to the low orbit insertion of these unique launches) and delivered them for launch, all within six months.
Rapid revisit enables more fulfillment of business and mission needs, as shorter intervals between image captures help our customers understand and characterize changes driven by human activity or unanticipated events. It also increases the likelihood that customers can get a cloud-free image, or an image of specific shadow angles that could be important for analysis.
We look forward to bringing this powerful capability to our customers and partners, and will continue to devise strategies to help customers solve challenges in new ways. Stay tuned as we provide more updates on the upcoming availability of rapid revisit tasking, and reach out to us on social media for the latest on upcoming launches.
Visit our webpage to find out more about Planet’s new SkySat offerings and connect with our team about this exciting launch.