During its user conference dubbed Explore 2020, Planet announced new products. Among the unveiled products was the Rapid Revisit. It is powerful enough to provide SkySat imagery of a resolution of up to 50 cm. It will be possible to update depending on the latitude at a frequency ranging from 7 to 12 times daily.
According to its CEO and Founder Will Marshall, when speaking on October 13, no other commercial provider has managed to come up with a product with such a high intraday revisit capability. Planet also unveiled the commercial Automated Change Detection and, as the name suggests, is a change-detection product. Marshall demonstrated how one could be notified if a change occurred in Doha, Qatar. He added that it was possible to see new structures as they come up month by month. It is also possible to zoom in and isolate the detected buildings.
As the company’s customer, you can assign a task such as obtaining a particular building’s high-resolution image to a SkySat. Many people seem to be embracing its services since, according to Marshall, the company is receiving twice the previous number of customer bookings. Another reason why the bookings have increased is because of the global pandemic. After all, people can hardly travel due to lockdown. Fortunately, Planet can help the customers keep track of changes using satellite data.
Planet’s Earth-imaging constellation is now larger than before after the addition of 26 SuperDoves. It happened in September when an Arianespace Vega report sent them to the orbit. By the end of the year, Planet hopes to expand it further by 57 SuperDoves. The new ones will be gathering imagery in eight instead of the previous four spectral bands.
Ever since last year, Planet’s SkySats are now as low as an altitude of 400 km. That’s after the company lowered the recent ones from 500 kilometers. That was a risky move since it meant comprising the satellite life. However, when Planet weighed the pros and the cons, the pros outdid the cons.
This change was to ensure that the imagery resolution improves. As far as Marshall is concerned, the difference served its purpose since the SkySats now reveal small features while providing imagery that’s not only crisp but also more detailed.
After launching 3 SkySats in June and August, it reached its SkySat fleet target, which was 21. The lift-off of the trio was on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. The release of the next product, Fusion Monitoring, will be in early 2021. Its function will be to merge several datasets. Consequently, it will be possible to stream imagery with neither gaps nor clouds. According to vice president Jim Thomason, agricultural customers will be the primary beneficiaries of the new product.