Satellite start-up
Are you okay with this gesture if we pick up your satellite? Can we pick it up? Yeah you hold that side…
This is Planet Labs in downtown San Francisco.
Here’s the spacecraft: this will be in space in about two and a half months? Yep
The company is sending its miniature satellites into orbit to image the earth faster than ever.
Here at Planet Labs, basically, this is the reception development section. This is where we design prototype, test technology. We design the complete satellite in this lab.
Look around our lab it looks more like a Silicon Valley startup than an aerospace firm.
It isn’t just the office dog that makes Planet Labs different.
What we have done is applied modern manufacturing techniques to spacecraft.
Instead of constructing one big, very expensive satellite like NASA’s Landsat, Planet Labs is building and launching more than 100 of its less expensive, nine pound craft into orbit.
This fleet of satellites will be able to monitor the earth on a much more regular basis. Why is that important? It’s important because you can’t fix what you can’t see.
NASA’s Landsat system currently photographs the same spot on the Earth every eight days. Planet Lab satellites will make new images of the same location, with resolution down to about ten square feet, every single day.
Think about it: the hundreds of thousands of examples of use cases of this data – journalists might use it, scientists might use it, NGO’s might use it – and we want to ensure that everyone gets access to that data.
And the satellites will basically stay in that track…
That includes lots of paying customers which Planet Labs says have already struck deals.
The number of satellites is new but that’s really a tool; a means to an end. The data is completely new. It’s a new data set that we’ve never had. It’s a global data set mapping detailed changes on the planet every day.
Source: nytimes

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