All in the Family — Planet to Launch SkySats and Doves on Minotaur-C
UPDATE: this launch has been rescheduled. The new tentative launch date is Oct 31, 2017.
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Planet will be launching 6 SkySats (SkySat 8-13) and 4 Doves (Flock 3m) on an Orbital-ATK Minotaur-C rocket from the SLC-576E launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on October 17, 2017. The target orbit is a Sun Synchronous, 500 km orbit with a 13:30 (1:30pm) crossing time.
This launch will mark a number of firsts for Planet. It’s the first time SkySats will launch with Doves as part of the Planet family, with all 10 satellites built in the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s our first-ever dedicated launch, too; meaning that as the launch’s only customer, Planet is in the driver’s seat with respect to launch date and defining orbital parameters. We intentionally chose an afternoon orbit to complement our existing morning-SSO fleet. With morning and afternoon constellations working in tandem, we have the ability to monitor areas of interest twice daily in both medium- and high-resolution, and we can capture different types of activities that happen at different times of the day.
We have a number of amazing industry partners we’ve been working with for months (and years!) to get ready for the big day, and we’d like to extend a big thank you to Orbital-ATK, SkySat manufacturer SSL, L3, ECAPS, Tyvak, and the 30th Space Wing for all their support.
Team Planet and partners integrate the SkySat and Dove spacecraft onto the launch vehicle at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The launch is currently scheduled for 2:37pm PST on October 17, 2017, but is subject to delays. The launch will be live streamed. Follow @planetlabs for updates.