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Planet Labs to Unveil its New Satellite Production Site in San Francisco

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Published on : Sep 17, 2018

Planet, the satellite imaging and associated analytics based company is finally taking the wraps off its new manufacturing space in San Francisco.

More Details about New Lab Set up by Planet

The company was founded by ex-NASA employees, and is now leveraging part of the US$183 million funding it has amassed in order to expand. The company had started in the basement of a nondescript office building in the middle of Harrison Street in San Francisco, and now is working hard at building low-orbit satellites that take images of Earth. The company also has expanded its manufacturing capacity to support this. According to the organization, the new facility is the most prolific satellite manufacturing spot in the world.

Inside the new 27,000-square-foot manufacturing site are satellite-building stations where Planet engineers assemble the machines called “doves,” together. The new site is six times the size of their old factory. With this new space, Planet claims that its engineers will produce up to 40 satellites/week. Fluorescent panels illuminate the industrial work stations, wherein the small satellites are plugged into their “dove nests.”

The way Planet is building its satellites is different from how NASA or Lockheed Martin does. Planet operates with the idea that instead of building large and complex machines that float through space taking images with outdated technology and old sensors, many smaller satellites with a one to three-year lifespan can get the job done faster and provide better images of the Earth’s surface. With the new site, Planet will bring all aspects of spacecraft production ranging from research & development to manufacturing to testing, under one roof. Each satellite can take two images per second, and Planet’s systems then work to classify images as water, coral, rivers, roads, infrastructure, and forests. Defense, human resource, and agriculture are few sectors that are expected to benefit from the data acquired by setting up the new lab.

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