Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

An Insider’s Look: The Space Data Chain


I have a unique job in the aerospace industry. As a “Spaceship Captain” (my actual job title!), I operate a fleet of over 60 orbiting satellites, designed and built in-house. These satellites capture and downlink millions of images of our planet every day. Captaining a fleet this large—especially with a team as small as ours— requires a healthy dose of automation. But our satellite operations are just the start of a complex, automated data chain.

We have teams of engineers working to maintain a network of ground stations, maximize our image processing pipeline, and continuously add features to our cloud-based software. When you put all of these elements together, you get a first-of-its-kind system that can handle huge amounts of imagery from space and send them down to your computer in a matter of hours.

At Planet, we’re frequently asked to explain what we do and how it’s different. When your team covers everything from designing and building satellites to developing advanced imagery software, the answer to this question isn’t trivial. We gathered a group of planeteers to answer this question. Take a look at how it all fits together:



Learn more about Planet’s data pipeline and offerings.