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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