Twelve Dove satellites, collectively known as “Flock 2p”, will be launching on a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket on June 22 at 03:55 GMT (June 21 at 20:55 PDT) to a 500 km altitude Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.
This is our first launch to a Sun Synchronous Orbit this year. SSO’s 97-degree orbital inclination helps us collect a truly global imagery dataset. On top of that, SSO’s regular mid-morning pass times provide consistent lighting conditions (sun angle and shadows) that make it easier for humans (and algorithms) to detect changes in our imagery from day to day.
The primary payload for the launch is CartoSat-2c, an Indian space agency (ISRO) Earth Observation mission. This is the first time the Doves will be launching on a PSLV, which will bring the total number of launch vehicle families utilized by Planet to 7, and 14 launches in total. The versatility in launch opportunities utilized by Planet speaks to the robustness of the Dove satellite design, and the benefits of Cubesat standardization. Our little Doves can fit in the nooks and crannies of just about any launch vehicle out there.
At Planet San Francisco, we will be watching the launch with our traditional pancakes. Wishing good luck (and delicious breakfast fare) to the PSLV, CartoSat-2c, the Flock 2p satellites, and all the other secondaries sharing the launch with us!