Falcon 9

Planet Labs 48 Earth-Imaging satellites will hitch a ride aboard SpaceX's Transporter-1 Mission

Planet Labs 48 Earth-Imaging satellites will hitch a ride aboard SpaceX's Transporter-1 Mission

Planet Labs is an Earth-imaging company based in San Francisco, California. The company operates a constellation of over one hundred shoebox-size satellites that take high-resolution photographs of Earth. The company’s SuperDoves (Flock 4) satellites feature technology that enables the constellation to capture around 1.2 million pictures per day. Planet Lab’s satellites enable its customers to see geographical regions on Earth for a wide range of things, including analyzing climate change and for national security. The satellites have captured aerial views of important events on our planet, such as disasters caused by weather, wars, missile strikes, and geographical changes. Over the years the imagery has provided vital insight for rescue and rebuilding efforts. In 2020, Planet Labs captured aerial views of newsworthy events from Iranian missile strikes to how global COVID-19 lockdowns completely changed public spaces, imagery featured in the article linked below.


On January 21, Planet Labs Chief Executive Officer Will Marshall announced his company booked a ride aboard SpaceX’s upcoming Transporter-1 Rideshare mission that will launch over one hundred satellites for different customers. SpaceX’s Rideshare Program offers customers the option of sharing Falcon 9 rocket with other companies’ payloads for a lower cost, compared to booking an entire rocket flight. –“Launching many small satellites for a wide range of customers tomorrow. Excited about offering low-cost access to orbit for small companies!” SpaceX founder Elon Musk stated via a Twitter post. A Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to deploy 143 satellites and small spacecraft during a launch window starting at 9:00 a.m. EST from Launch Complex-40 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Planet Labs' 48 SuperDoves Earth-imaging satellites will hitch a ride aboard SpaceX's Transporter-1 Mission, alongside 95 other payloads. It will be the first time SpaceX launched over one hundred payloads to Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO). UPDATE: SpaceX Announced on January 23 -- "Due to unfavorable weather, we are standing down from today's launch; the team will continue with the countdown until T-30 seconds for data collection. Another launch attempt is available tomorrow, January 24 with a 22-minute window opening at 10:00 a.m. EST.


“Planet is rocketing into the new year with 48 SuperDoves, our Flock 4s, scheduled to fly on SpaceX’s Transporter-1 mission. This rideshare mission launching out of Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida will deliver Flock 4s to a Sun-Synchronous Orbit at approximately 500 km (kilometer) altitude,” the company announced in a press release on Thursday evening. Planet said the “48 SuperDoves bring improvements to image sharpness and quality, plus new spectral bands for analysis. With this launch of 8-band SuperDoves, Planet will continue to provide medium resolution multispectral imagery (3-5m) at a global scale to our customers worldwide.” – “This marks our sixth launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 and our third launch on their smallsat rideshare program. Just last summer, we successfully launched six SkySats across two SpaceX Starlink rideshare missions and we’re excited to again fly on such a reliable and well-flown launch vehicle,” Planet Labs representatives shared. You can watch the satellites deployment Live in the video below, courtesy of SpaceX.



Featured Image Source: Planet Labs

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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