Planet Labs raises $52 million to launch a swarm of satellites

A second round of funding will help pay for "Flock 1," a group of 28 diminutive satellites set to launch this month to supply customers with images of Earth.

The 28 satellites that constitute Planet Labs' Flock 1 fleet are now awaiting launch.
The 28 satellites that constitute Planet Labs' Flock 1 fleet are now awaiting launch. Planet Labs

Planet Labs, a startup that plans to launch large numbers of small satellites for customers that need frequently updated high-resolution imagery, has raised $52 million in second-round funding.

One of Planet Labs' "nanosatellites"
One of Planet Labs' "nanosatellites" Planet Labs

The San Francisco-based company aims to offer an "unprecedented combination of resolution and frequency" with a fleet of relatively small satellites (about the size of two loaves of sandwich bread laid end to end) in relatively low orbits. It's launched four so far -- Dove 1, 2, 3, and 4 -- and plans to launch 28 satellites in Flock 1 by the end of the year. The company announced the Series B funding on Wednesday.

"The latest generation of satellites will enable us to image the whole globe at high frequency, producing an unprecedented data set that will unlock huge commercial, environmental, and humanitarian value," said Will Marshall, Planet Labs co-founder and CEO, in a blog post.

New investors include Yuri Milner, Industry Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Lux Capital, and Ray Rothrock, the company said.

The company has already booked orders for imagery from customers -- more revenue in 2014 than the company has taken in to date from investors, according to said Steve Jurvetson, a managing director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and a Planet Labs board member.

Via GigaOm

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About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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