Planet Labs Buys BlackBridge Satellite Unit to Expand Fleet

Bloomberg
July 15, 2015

Satel­lite maker Planet Labs Inc. agreed to buy Black­Bridge Corp.’s geospa­tial busi­nesses to expand its orbit­ing fleet and pho­to­graphic archive, at a time of high demand for qual­ity images from space.

Planet Labs will buy five Rapid­Eye satel­lites from Leth­bridge, Alberta-​​based Black­Bridge as well as an archive of 6 bil­lion square kilo­me­ters of imagery cap­tured over the past six years, the San Francisco-​​based com­pany said in a state­ment Wednes­day. Terms of the deal weren’t dis­closed.
While Planet Labs oper­ates the world’s largest con­stel­la­tion of Earth-​​monitoring satel­lites, it wants to reach new mar­kets. Black­Bridge sells its images to cus­tomers in more than 100 coun­tries. The race to trans­mit higher-​​quality images from space is heat­ing up as investors, non-​​profit groups and gov­ern­ments increas­ingly use the pic­tures to track every­thing from indus­trial activ­ity to defor­esta­tion. Com­modi­ties traders and oth­ers in the finan­cial indus­try are get­ting more inter­ested in geospa­tial imagery, Planet Labs Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer Will Mar­shall said in a phone interview.

They’re increas­ingly real­iz­ing that hav­ing imagery of the whole world every day is some­thing they can uti­lize to make smarter bets on mar­kets,” Mar­shall said.

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