AUTHOR PROFILE Richard "Rico" Walker
Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

When Doves Fly: Flock 2b Deploys from ISS


I’m on Planet’s Mission Operations team. It’s my job to monitor new satellites as they’re deployed, prepare them for everyday imaging, oversee their on-orbit operations, and fix problems as they occur.

My team has been pretty busy lately. Last week, a dozen Flock 2b satellites deployed from the International Space Station (ISS). Twelve Doves were ejected in pairs over a three-day period from the station’s Kibo Module arm by a Nanoracks deployer.

Once Doves enter orbit, they tumble away from the space station at a relative speed of about one meter per second, leaving plenty of time for the astronauts onboard to snap photos. Astronaut Scott Kelly pointed his camera out of the space station window, and captured these incredible images:

Two doves float by the Space Station’s massive solar array. Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

Photo: NASA

I’m glad to report that we’ve made contact with each on-orbit Dove; they’re progressing nicely through our automated commissioning process. In just a few days, Flock 2b will begin collecting RGB (red, green, blue) and near-infrared (NIR ) imagery.

This round of deployments brings our total on-orbit satellites count to 41. I’d like to extend a big “thank you” to Nanoracks and NASA for facilitating this round of deploys.