Planet Labs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Planet Labs, Inc.
Founded December 29, 2010[1][2]
Founder Will Marshall, Chris Boshuizen, Robbie Schingler[1][2]
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, U.S.[2]
Number of locations
4 offices (USA, Germany, Netherlands, Canada)[2]
Area served
Key people
Will Marshall (CEO)
Robbie Schingler (President)
Tom Barton (COO)
Andy Wild (CRO)
Products "Dove" imaging satellites
Services Satellite-based Earth imaging and analytics
Number of employees
101-250 (as of September 2015)[2]

Planet Labs, Inc. (formerly Cosmogia, Inc.) is an American Earth imaging private company based in San Francisco, CA.[1][2] The company designs and manufactures Triple-CubeSat miniature satellites called Doves that are then delivered into orbit as passengers on other rocket launch missions. Each Dove Earth observation satellite continuously scans Earth, sending data once it passes over a ground station. Together, Doves form a satellite constellation that provides a complete image of Earth at 3-5 m optical resolution and open data access. Small size and a relatively low cost enable the company to quickly prototype and test new designs, while avoiding a loss of significant assets in a disaster. The images gathered by Doves provide up-to-date information relevant to climate monitoring, crop yield prediction, urban planning, and disaster response.[1] With acquisition of BlackBridge in July 2015, Planet Labs had 87 Dove and 5 RapidEye satellites in orbit.[3] In February 2017, Planet launched an additional 88 Dove satellites. In 2017, Google sold its subsidiary Terra Bella and its SkySat satellite constellation to Planet Labs.[4][5]


First pair of the 28 Planet Labs satellites launched from the ISS via the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (2014)

Planet Labs was founded in 2010 as Cosmogia by former NASA scientists Chris Boshuizen, Will Marshall, and Robbie Schingler.[6][7][8]

It successfully launched two demonstration CubeSats, Dove 1 and Dove 2, in April 2013.[9] Dove 3 and Dove 4 were launched in November 2013.[7]

In June 2013, it announced plans for Flock-1, a constellation of 28 Earth-observing satellites.[9]

The Flock-1 CubeSats were brought to the International Space Station in January 2014[10] and successfully deployed via the NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer in mid-February.[11] The company plans to launch a total of 131 satellites by mid-2015.[12]

In March 2014 co-founder and CEO Will Marshall presented at the TED conference in Vancouver.[13] In January 2015, the firm raised $95 million in funding.[14] As of May 2015, Planet Labs raised a total amount of $183 million in venture capital financing.[15]

In July 2015, Planet Labs acquired BlackBridge and its RapidEye constellation.[16]

On April 18, 2017, Google completed the sale of Terra Bella and its SkySat satellite constellation to Planet Labs.[4][17][18] As part of the sale, Google acquired an equity stake in Planet and entered into a multi-year agreement to purchase SkySat imaging data.[19]

Satellite constellation[edit]

Headquarters front entrance (2015)
Art and staff photos in the headquarters corridor (2015)

Flock-1 satellites are CubeSats that weigh 4 kg (1000 times lower than legacy commercial imaging satellites), 10x10x30 cm in length, width and height,[20] orbit at a height of about 400 kilometres (250 mi) and provide imagery with a resolution of 3–5 m (9.8–16.4 ft) and envisaged environmental, humanitarian, and business applications.[21][22]

The twenty Flock 2e 3U CubeSats[23] were launched in 23 March 2016 on the Cygnus CRS OA-6 cargo mission.[24]

Twelve Flock-2p Dove satellites each of which weighs just 4.7 kg were launched by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) on 22 June 2016. The PSLV-C34 that carried the 12 Dove satellites lifted off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.[25][26]

On February 15, 2017, (03:58 GMT) Planet launched 88 satellites, which was the largest fleet of satellites to be launched in history.[27] The Dove satellites, collectively known as Flock 3p, rode aboard an ISRO Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre.[28] They head to a morning crossing time, sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) at an approximate altitude of 500 kilometres (310 mi).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Planet Labs website". Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Crunchbase profile of Planet Labs". 2015. Retrieved September 23, 2015. 
  3. ^ Tepper, Fitz (15 July 2015). "Satellite Maker Planet Labs Acquires BlackBridge’s Geospatial Business". Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Google sells satellite imaging business Terra Bella to Planet Labs". Reuters. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2017.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "PlanetLabsReuters" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  5. ^ "Planet to Acquire Terra Bella from Google, Sign Multi-Year Data Contract" (Press release). Planet Labs. 3 February 2017. 
  6. ^ Brewster, Signe. "With plans to launch 28 satellites next year, at Planet Labs, the space industry is back",, 2 August 2013. Retrieved on 18 September 2013.
  7. ^ a b Graham, William. "Russian Dnepr conducts record breaking 32 satellite haul",, 21 November 2013. Retrieved on 26 November 2013.
  8. ^ Solon, Olivia. "In pictures: Planet Labs' nanosatellites", Wired, 13 August 2013. Retrieved on 26 November 2013.
  9. ^ a b Wall, Mike. "Planet Labs Unveils Tiny Earth-Observation Satellite Family",, 31 August 2013. Retrieved on 18 September 2013.
  10. ^ Wall, Mike. "Record-Breaking 33 'Cubesats' to Launch from Space Station This Month",, 4 February 2014. Retrieved on 6 February 2014.
  11. ^ Klotz, Irene. "Satellite 'Flock' Launched From ISS Cubesat Cannon: Photos",, 18 February 2014, Retrieved on 25 April 2014.
  12. ^ Taylor, Richard. "Mini-satellites send high-definition views of Earth", BBC, 15 May 2014. Retrieved on 16 May 2014.
  13. ^ Marshall, Will (2014-03-19). "Tiny satellites show us the Earth as it changes in near-real-time". New York, NY: TED Talks. Retrieved 2014-12-23. 
  14. ^ Reuters (20 January 2015). "SpaceX raises $1 billion in funding from Google, Fidelity". NewsDaily. 
  15. ^ Sarah Buhr. "Planet Labs Rockets To $118 Million In Series C Funding To Cover The Earth In Tiny Satellites". TechCrunch. AOL. 
  16. ^ Foust, Jeff (2015-07-15). "Planet Labs Buying BlackBridge and its RapidEye Constellation". Space News. Retrieved 16 July 2015. 
  17. ^ "Planet to Acquire Terra Bella from Google, Sign Multi-Year Data Contract" (Press release). Planet Labs. 3 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "Terra Bella Officially Joins Planet". Retrieved 18 April 2017. 
  19. ^ Foust, Jeff (19 April 2017). "Planet confirms Google stake as Terra Bella deal closes -". Space News. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  20. ^ Will Marshall: Tiny satellites that photograph the entire planet, every day. YouTube. 18 November 2014. 
  21. ^ Werner, Debra. "With 2 More Cubesats in Orbit, Earth-imaging Startup Planet Labs Ships Next Batch of 28 to Wallops",, 26 November 2013. Retrieved on 26 November 2013.
  22. ^ Bradshaw, Tim. "US start-up to launch record number of satellites",, 26 November 2013. Retrieved on 26 November 2013.
  23. ^ Krebs, Gunter Dirk (16 January 2016). "The Flock Earth observing constellation". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  24. ^ Graham, William (March 22, 2016). "OA-6 Cygnus launched to the ISS via Atlas V". NASA Spaceflight. Retrieved 2016-03-27. 
  25. ^ 10 things to know about ISRO's 20 satellites mission Times of India 22 June 2016
  26. ^ Flock-1 Gunther's Space Page 22 June 2016
  27. ^ "India launches 88 earth imaging satellites from Planet Labs". PCWorld. Retrieved 2017-02-15. 
  28. ^ "Isro creates history, launches 104 satellites in one go". The Times of India. 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017. 

External links[edit]

  • Planet Labs website
  • Keynote presentation "Reimagine Change From Space: Using Satellites To Image The Entire Planet" by the Planet Labs co-founder and CEO Will Marshall at the's "Dreamforce" conference on 15 September 2015.
  • Planet Labs on NASA TV (10 November 2015).
  • Oriondata Internacional: reseller of PlanetScope and Rapideye images in Chile and others countries in Latin America.