Berlin, Germany, (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.
AUTHOR PROFILE Martin Van Ryswyk
Martin Van Ryswyk is Senior Vice President of Product at Planet.

RapidEye Constellation to be Retired in 2020

News

It’s with mixed sentiments that we share that Planet’s RapidEye constellation will be retired at the end of March 2020. After 11 years of faithfully gathering imagery, it has aged gracefully, to say the least.

RapidEye has gone above and beyond, making invaluable contributions to our global Earth observation dataset since being acquired from BlackBridge in 2015. The constellation has been in operation nearly four years longer than its design life and has generated the largest global archive of five meter satellite imagery to date.

Having surpassed its mission, and in accordance with Planet’s satellite operating license, we have chosen to retire the satellites proactively, staying committed to space exploration best practices and space debris regulations.

Since being launched into sun-synchronous orbit aboard the Dnepr rocket in Kazakhstan in 2008, the five RapidEye satellites have:

  • Orbited the Earth more than 305,000 times
  • Traveled a distance of nearly 13,422,000,000 kilometers, which is over 89 times the distance between the Earth and the Sun
  • Taken more than 660,000 pictures of Earth’s total landmass, which is equal to more than 15 billion square kilometers of imagery data

RapidEye satellites will no longer collect imagery for commercial or noncommercial use, but their contributions to Earth observation will always remain in our digital memories. Planet remains the steward of RapidEye’s vast archive of impressive imagery, which customers will continue to leverage.

With support from our teams, customers who use RapidEye imagery will transition to our Next-Generation PlanetScope products, which provide higher spatial resolution as well as continuity with the Red, Green, Blue, Near Infrared and Red-Edge bands.

While there are no plans to build a second generation of RapidEye satellites, Planet forecasts that our Next-Generation PlanetScope product will meet, or exceed, RapidEye’s historical coverage of Earth’s landmass. We also will continue to invest in future iterations of Dove satellites, creating significant enhancements to our medium-resolution PlanetScope imagery.

RapidEye has been a vital contributor to Planet’s mission of making change visible, accessible and actionable. Though the satellites remained active for just over a decade, their impact on the field of aerospace will be remembered for many a lifetime.

Here is a series of images collected as a tribute to RapidEye’s contributions:

From June 2011 to April 2012, Puyehue-Cordón Caulle covered 16 square kilometers of the Andes in a lava flow about 30 meters thick. These RapidEye images show the area shortly before the eruption—on March 24, 2011 and 8 years later on March 10, 2019. (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

From June 2011 to April 2012, Puyehue-Cordón Caulle covered 16 square kilometers of the Andes in a lava flow about 30 meters thick. These RapidEye images show the area shortly before the eruption—on March 24, 2011 and eight years later on March 10, 2019. (c) 2011 and 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Over the course of a decade Switzerland's Pizol Galcier wasted away, transforming from an active glacier into scattered snow fields. The imagery was captured on September 8, 2009 (left) and August 9, 2019 (right). (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Over the course of a decade, Switzerland’s Pizol Galcier wasted away, transforming from an active glacier into scattered snow fields. The imagery was captured on September 8, 2009 (left) and August 9, 2019 (right). (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Shenzhen, in China’s Pearl River Delta, grew tremendously during the life of the RapidEye constellation. This image pair, from May 1, 2009 and November 5, 2019, shows the transformation of the area around Qianhai Bay. (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Shenzhen, in China’s Pearl River Delta, grew tremendously during the life of the RapidEye constellation. This image pair, from May 1, 2009 and November 5, 2019, shows the transformation of the area around Qianhai Bay. (c) 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Since filling in the late 1990s, the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt have fluctuated wildly due to changes in rainfall over the Nile River Watershed. These changes are visible in complex fossil shorelines in the dry lake-bed. These RapidEye images show the changes in one of the lakes from January 9, 2011 to February 28, 2019. (c) 2011 and 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Since filling in the late 1990s, the Toshka Lakes in southern Egypt have fluctuated wildly due to changes in rainfall over the Nile River Watershed. These changes are visible in complex fossil shorelines in the dry lake-bed. These RapidEye images show the changes in one of the lakes from January 9, 2011 to February 28, 2019. (c) 2011 and 2019, Planet Labs Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Customers who need any guidance or help during the period of transition from RapidEye to Next-Generation PlanetScope can reach out to the customer success team or support@planet.com

Our websites use cookies.
We use cookies to improve our services and tailor content for you. Your browser settings control cookies. For more information about the use of cookies on our websites, please see our Privacy Policy.