Menu
Planet Labs plans big increase in imaging cubesats

Planet Labs plans big increase in imaging cubesats

The company plans to more than double the number of satellites it has in orbit

Two of Planet Labs imaging satellites are seen shortly after they were released from the International Space Station

Two of Planet Labs imaging satellites are seen shortly after they were released from the International Space Station

Planet Labs, a satellite imaging startup formed by ex-NASA engineers, has applied for permission to more than double the number of satellites it has in orbit.

Earlier this year, 28 of the San Francisco company's small-sized "cubesats" satellites were released from the International Space Station to form its first constellation of satellites called "Flock 1."

Orbiting at an altitude of 410 kilometers, the satellites can take images of the Earth with a resolution of around 4 meters per pixel.

Now the company has asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for approval to launch 39 additional satellites: a second batch of 28 that will collectively be called "Flock 1b" and a further 11 that will be "Flock 1c."

The new satellites will be technically and functionally identical to the first batch but fly at different orbits, according to the company's application. The Flock 1b satellites will be slightly lower at between 380 and 410 kilometers and the Flock 1c will be considerably higher at 620 kilometers.

That should mean images from Flock 1b are largely similar to those from the current satellites, but those from Flock 1c will cover a larger portion of the Earth with slightly less detail.

The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Planet Labs eventually hopes to have more than 100 satellites in space and be able to provide a photo of every spot on Earth at least once every 24 hours. Current Earth imaging satellite systems generally fly over the same spot once every two or three days.

The company, which builds its satellites at its San Francisco office, has attracted US$65.1 million in venture financing.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

Subscribe here for up-to-date channel news

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags popular sciencetelecommunicationsatellitePlanet Labs

Featured

Slideshows

​Reseller News Connect – Securing your future as an MSP

​Reseller News Connect – Securing your future as an MSP

This Reseller News Connect event uncovered the threat landscape in a Kiwi context, highlighting how MSPs can securely manage IT environments, while implementing business continuity solutions to avoid unexpected disasters.

​Reseller News Connect – Securing your future as an MSP
StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

Revealed at a glitzy bash in Sydney at the Ivy Penthouse, the first StorageCraft Partner Awards locally saw the vendor honour its top-performing partners with ASI Solutions, SMBiT Pro, Webroot, ACA Pacific and Soft Solutions New Zealand taking home the top awards. Photos by Maria Stefina.

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards
Show Comments