Last month, Planet launched three high resolution satellites on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket – SkySats 16-18 – the first of two launches delivering six more SkySats to orbit. We’re excited to share first light imagery from these recently launched SkySats, delivering 50 cm spatial resolution!
The low launch insertion orbit by the Falcon 9 required an unusually quick, complex, and exciting commissioning process before raising the satellites to their final operational altitude of 400 km. Planet’s Mission Operations team executed this campaign flawlessly and ahead of schedule – from their homes – and we’re thrilled to share that all three satellites are healthy and have started payload calibrations. They will enter full commercial service no later than mid September.
SkySats 16-18 were placed into an orbital plane inclined at 53 degrees and they will soon be joined by SkySats 19-21 in a second 53 degree plane, expanding the world’s largest fleet of high resolution satellites in orbit to 21 SkySats and doubling our revisit opportunities – up to 12 times per day. The newly increased spatial resolution combined with this industry leading rapid revisit capabilities will provide critical intelligence to customers and organizations when they need it most. Stay tuned for updates as our second launch window nears.