It’s hard to believe it’s been one year since Planet and Google completed a strategic partnership to acquire Terra Bella, making Google a Planet customer and investor. In that time, the Terra Bella and Planet teams have become a cohesive unit, with a shared mission and vision for the future.
The strength of our partnership was put to test last fall when we launched six SkySat satellites. Today, we’re happy to share that these new SkySat satellites are now fully operational and their data commercially available through Planet APIs. This brings the total number of SkySat satellites in orbit to 13 – making it the largest constellation of high-resolution satellites in market.
This is a significant milestone for Planet and our global base of customers. Now, the SkySat constellation can not only image any location on Earth’s landmass at sub-meter resolution and twice-daily frequency, but also collect the data faster and at a lower cost point than traditional imagery providers. These capabilities ensure that Planet’s customers have the information they need to make critical business decisions.
SkySat satellites are instrumental to Planet’s unprecedented daily global dataset, giving customers greater access to high-resolution imagery of the places they care about. So, what’s new?
Faster Access. Customers can task SkySats for one-time or recurring collections over areas they care about and access the data in as few as eight hours from collection.
More Frequent Coverage. SkySats can image anywhere on Earth on a weekly, daily, or even twice-daily basis. More frequent coverage allows customers to see change as it happens and derive more reliable insights.
Melting snow captured by sub-daily SkySat imagery on March 27 at 11:40 am (left) and 2:27 pm local time (right).
Diverse Collection Types, Ready for Analysis. The SkySat constellation supports off-nadir collection types and now offers a variety of delivery formats, including Basemaps, which are compatible with OpenStreetMaps or as a web mapping tile format.
Greater Flexibility and Precision with PlanetScope. Alongside PlanetScope 3 meter imagery, customers can identify change at scale and task SkySat satellites to gain higher resolution detail of ground activity.
When paired with PlanetScope’s daily, global 3 meter monitoring, customers can more precisely task SkySat with a higher degree of confidence that relevant change in their AOIs has taken place.
Additionally, we’re also introducing New Collections – a selection of 500+ key geographic locations relevant to energy, defense and intelligence, maritime, and mapping sectors that Planet is monitoring at twice-monthly cadence. Customers can subscribe to these imagery feeds to monitor activity, or build and test change detection algorithms at a lower price point.
Many of these improvements are made possible by Planet’s unique missions operations platform – built to automate the tasking and operations for nearly 200 Dove satellites. After acquiring the SkySat constellation from Terra Bella last April, we applied those learnings to the 13 SkySats to minimize manual tasking work and allow us to continuously iterate and improve. This is an integral part of our mission to help our customers get greater access to high-resolution monitoring for any location on Earth’s surface.