What is Rapid Revisit and Why Does it Matter?
Rapid revisit is a qualitative term used in satellite monitoring to describe the ability of the system to make repeated image captures separated by short time intervals. This implies both that the constellation can respond at short notice to collect a target without waiting days for the satellites to pass overhead, and also that frequent collects can be made of a target over a given time of interest.
What “rapid” precisely means can vary depending on who you ask, but here at Planet we define this as being able to take multiple images per day of the same location anywhere on Earth (something only our SkySat constellation can do today). This intra-day revisit capability has myriad benefits across diverse industries, from disaster relief to defense and intelligence to energy to business intelligence to global news events.
Many imaging satellites provide global coverage but are limited when it comes to revisit times, with some providing revisit rates as much as 5-10 days apart. It’s beneficial however to have the option of shorter intervals between images to really understand and characterize the rapid changes driven by human activity or unusual events.
What makes Planet’s SkySat constellation so unique is that we are able to provide multiple observations a day, providing fresh and frequent data to better monitor change. Our satellites are positioned to image any point on Earth every day at 10:30am and 1:30pm. This is particularly useful in instances where cloud cover is an issue, increasing the likelihood that you’ll get a cloud-free image each day, or where specific shadow angles are important.
Of course, how rapid the revisit rate needs to be varies for different applications. For disaster monitoring, each minute and hour can bring about significant change—so a rapid revisit rate that provides imagery sub-daily or daily is incredibly valuable for those responding to the disaster. This is the case for defense and intelligence purposes as well, where early and frequent intelligence on strategic areas of interest or rapidly unfolding events is crucial to smart decision making and resource allocation. For the energy industry, the desired rapid revisit rate could be biweekly, like in the case of monitoring well pads, where construction happens over the course of several weeks.
Planet’s unique constellation gives the options that meet each customer’s needs, providing the flexibility necessary to suit imaging needs no matter what your industry or business needs.
To learn more about our SkySat offerings, please get in touch with our Sales team.