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Planet details Pelican line of Earth imaging satellites


Illustration of a Pelican satellite.


Data specialist and Earth-imaging Planet LabsOn Thursday, the details for its new Pelican Satellites were revealed. This is as part of the company’s ongoing expansion and improvement of space-based imagery.

Planet anticipates that the Pelican spacecraft will be launched in the early 2023. Pelican satellites can capture images with a resolution up to 30 cm, which is more detailed than Planet’s 21 SkySat satellites orbiting.

Pelican can handle the most high-resolution commercially available data. The difference is the number that we can have, the more revisits that we can have and the real-time connectivity – and then also what you get with Planet as an unclassified source,” Planet co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Robbie Schingler told CNBC.

Planet will see an increase in the number of Pelican satellites. This will boost its revisitability of higher-resolution imagery products. What is Revisit? It’s basically how often a company can image a specific location on the earth using satellites.

Schingler says the Pelican constellation will be able to revisit up to 10 times per day for most of the globe, but up to 30 times per day at mid-latitudes – where the majority of people live on Earth. Planet competitor Maxar boasts a 15-times per day revisit for its WorldView satellites.

Schingler stated that the Pelican’s base spacecraft is “built for speed-of-upgrade-ability,” and includes inter-satellite link to boost data delivery across the network. Planet is currently building inter-satellite links for the Pelican satellites in his house.

Schingler explained that Planet has “a few partnerships” with satellite companies, which Schingler claimed allows the distribution of Pelican data. Planet did not specify the names of satellite communications companies.

Planet went public via a SPAC merger and began trading on the public market late last year. The stock has slid since that debut, however, with Planet shares at $5.70 as of Wednesday’s close – down nearly 50% since closing its merger.