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

We Call Them Doves


In the aerospace industry, satellites are typically referred to as “birds”. From the ground, it looks like they are flying across the sky as they travel along their orbits. There’s also a tendency in the aerospace industry to think of these satellites as birds of prey; satellite missions like FalconSat and Kestrel Eye bring to mind a circling hunter ready to swoop down and strike. Not so fun.

At Planet Labs, we take a different approach to space. Our mission is to utilize space to help life on Earth, and that attitude permeates everything we do. These are peace-bringing satellites, enabling commercial, humanitarian, and environmental applications at a scale that has never been attempted before. We call our satellites “Doves” so that the message is loud and clear. Do good, foster peace, and take better care of our planet. We’re focusing on applications such as deforestation monitoring, disaster response, improvements in agriculture, the list goes on.

Yuri Gagarin, the first person to reach space, holding a dove in 1963 (Image Credit: RIA Novosti)

When Yuri Gagarin became the first person to reach space on April 12, 1961, it was considered a victory not only for the Soviet Union, but for humanity as a whole. Every year people around the world continue to celebrate the anniversary of Yuri’s first flight, reminding us that despite our differences, we’re all in this together. It’s the same with our satellites. We envision the Doves as an asset not just for a select few, but for the entire planet.