The American company Planet, which already operates 200 daily Earth observation satellites from space, announced on Tuesday that it wanted to launch a new fleet of even more precise satellites, capable of distinguishing even road markings on the ground.
This new function, available from 2023, can for example be used by one of Planet’s main customers, Google, for its Google Maps mapping service.
“This is a brand new satellite“said Robbie Schingler, former NASA and co-founder of Planet in 2010.”The data is faster, the resolution is better.“
The announcement highlights the dynamism of the booming nanosatellite market.
Their applications can be multiple: environmental (spotting illegal forest clearers, observing the state of crops, etc.), but also defense (monitoring troop movements, airport activity, etc. ). They can also help support rescue operations, for example by observing the spread of a fire.
Planet already has a fleet of 180 satellites called “Dove“(dove), which take a photograph of the entire planet every day, as well as 21 satellites that can be used to photograph a particular location, up to 10 times a day.
The new fleet, which was named “Pelican“, is a modernized extension of these 21 satellites, which have a lifespan of five to six years and the first of which were launched in 2014.