A fleet of 30cm resolution satellites to “capture rapid and emerging events in great detail”

Vue d'artiste d'un satellite de la cosntellation Pelican. © Planet

It is no longer necessary to demonstrate the usefulness of Earth observation data. Planeta, one of the leading providers of satellite imagery, has got it right. The Californian firm, which has the largest fleet of observational microsatellites on our Planet, should commission Pelican, a new very high-resolution constellation, in 2023. Robbie Schingler, Planet co-founder and director of strategy, explains the strengths of the Pelicans Satellites. Explore the interviews of researchers, photographers, travelers witnessing a world that is changing under the yoke of global warming. You will also be interested
[EN VIDÉO] How many satellites revolve around the Earth? 2,787 satellites were operational as of December 31, 2020, according to the UCS (Union of Concerned Scientists), more than half of which were launched by the United States. Three-quarters of the satellites in operation rotate in low orbit (between 500 and 2,000 km altitude), and are used for telecommunications systems, terrestrial images or meteorology. The conflict in Ukraine and the various natural disasters affecting the Earth have shown the interest and usefulness of private Earth observation constellations. Planeta, a major player in satellite imagery and data, has unveiled a new constellation that should be operational sometime next year. Pelican, that’s its name, was designed to quickly capture changes as they unfold with a resolution of just 30 centimeters, a higher revision. frequency and spatial resolution than the current constellation. Both access and delivery of images and data will also be faster. We give the floor to Robbie Schingler, Planet co-founder and chief strategy officer. Futura: With the conflict in Ukraine, has Planeta identified new needs for Earth observation? Robbie Schingler: The Pelican constellation was announced long before the conflict in Ukraine, but the war has certainly underlined the criticality of daily global satellite data. This data acts as a “blind eye” and gives the world access to what was previously only available to governments, thereby promoting greater global security and accountability. Robbie Schingler: Yes, and up to 30 possibilities per day in mid-latitudes. This high frequency of revisions will be possible thanks to the 32 satellites that will make up the Pelican constellation. Using both PlanetScope’s daily tracking of the Dove constellation and Pelican’s high-resolution imagery, a customer can perform unparalleled fast “Tip & Cue” operations on a single platform. Additionally, our agile and vertically integrated manufacturing process means we can affordably build a fleet of satellites that can go from concept to orbit in a fraction of the time it would take the competition. Not targeting or offering new services? Robbie Schingler: Pelican will replace and enhance the current SkySat constellation when it comes online in the coming years. This new constellation will expand the planet’s ability to capture fast-paced emerging events in great detail. This data will be particularly suitable for existing and new customers in the emergency response, civil government, defense and intelligence sectors, where fast and accurate information is most important. Futura: What examples can you give us? Robbie Schingler: The Pelican Constellation responds in particular to the needs of actors and emergency response organizations that need to have near-real-time surveillance, to even more quickly mobilize means to deploy on the ground, and thus improve its reactivity time. Pelican’s new capabilities are also particularly suited to civilian government, defense and intelligence customers, where the need for fast and accurate information is greatest. planned spectral bands, optical or radar…)? Robbie Schingler: We’re not sharing any details other than what’s in the press release: up to 30cm resolution, compared to 50cm for SkySat satellites. But yes, Pelican images will only be made in the visible Futura: The new satellites will be built by Planet; its electric motor too? And with technological innovations? Robbie Schingler: Planeta will build the satellites in-house, in San Francisco, using parts from suppliers. Future: What strategy is envisaged to deorbit these satellites at the end of their useful life or in failure?: As with all our satellites. satellites, we are committed to proactively retiring Pelican satellites in compliance with space exploration best practices and space debris regulations. Interested in what you just read?
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