Planet unveils tasking and API for expanding SkySat fleet

SAN FRANCISCO – Planet unveiled a cloud-based dashboard and API June 9 to permit clients to job the agency’s rising SkySat constellation.

It was the newest step in Planet’s marketing campaign to boost its SkySat product line. During the last six months, the corporate has lowered the altitude of 15 SkySats in orbit to enhance decision and bought rides for six extra SkySats on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets to broaden the constellation and enhance revisit charges.

All of the modifications are designed to offer authorities and business clients quick access to high-resolution imagery of areas at totally different occasions all through the day and “a greater sense of exercise on the bottom,” Jim Thomason, Planet vice chairman of images merchandise, instructed table4.

Planet created “a brand new consumer interface that enables clients to job SkySat imagery in an environment friendly, automated manner” as a result of clients expressed “a need to have easier and quicker workflows,” the corporate mentioned in a June 9 weblog submit. “As a substitute of spending valuable time going backwards and forwards with a human [representative], with the tasking dashboard and API, clients can autonomously submit, modify and cancel SkySat imagery requests. This permits visibility into the end-to-end expertise, from order to success, so expectations could be managed with analysts and groups.”

Planet is well-known for capturing every day world imagery of Earth’s landmass with its Dove cubesat constellation. A lot of Planet’s current bulletins have targeted on the SkySat constellation the San Francisco firm acquired in 2017 from Google.

SkySats had been designed to supply 72-centimeter-per-pixel imagery. In response to demand for larger decision, Planet lowered SkySat altitudes as a substitute of redesigning satellites.

By reducing SkySats from an altitude of 500 kilometers to 450 kilometers, Planet improved the decision of orthorectified imagery from 80 centimeters to 50 centimeters per pixel.

“This enchancment allows clients to get a extra exact view of adjusting circumstances on the bottom and provides extra granular context to decision-making,” Planet mentioned within the weblog. “That is notably necessary for business and authorities mapping use instances, the place seeing smaller options like street floor markings are key.”

Mike Safyan, Planet vice chairman of launch, mentioned the unconventional determination to decrease SkySats stemmed from “an informal dialog throughout a gathering.” After the assembly, Planet engineers evaluated the influence on satellite tv for pc lifetimes, propellant budgets and whether or not the transfer may very well be made with out interrupting customer support.

“We don’t totally throw the aerospace textbook out the window, however we query a whole lot of accepted norms and practices to see if there are methods we are able to push the boundaries,” Safyan instructed table4.

Planet is making ready to broaden the SkySat constellation with three SkySats scheduled to launch in June on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket alongside Starlink broadband satellites. Three extra SkySats are slated to share the trip to orbit with Starlink satellites a couple of month later. The six new SkySats are destined for mid-inclination orbits of 53 levels.

With 21 SkySats in sun-synchronous and mid-inclination orbits, Planet expects to supply clients a median of seven every day alternatives to view areas on the bottom and as many as 12 possibilities to acquire imagery of websites close to 53 levels latitude, based on the June 9 weblog.

The June SkySat launch comes about six months after Planet and SpaceX signed the launch contract. Safyan attributes the pace to the truth that Planet has flown with SpaceX earlier than, sending two SkySats on a devoted rideshare mission in 2018.

“By dovetailing with their launch schedule, we readied the satellites, constructed a brand new rocket interface, designed a brand new commissioning schedule (because of the low orbit insertion of those distinctive launches) and delivered them for launch, all inside six months,” based on the June 9 weblog.

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