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February 6, 2017updated 07 Feb 2017 12:54pm

Google’s Alphabet sells Terra Bella satellite imaging business

Once the deal closes, Google will enter into a multi-year contract to buy Planet Labs’ Earth-imaging data.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google is selling its Terra Bella business, including the SkySat constellation of satellites, to Planet Labs.

The search giant acquired Skybox Imaging in June 2014 and rebranded it to Terra Bella last year.

Terra Bella offers commercial high-resolution Earth observation satellite imagery, high-definition video and analytics services.

The company’s satellites are claimed to capture video clips lasting up to 90 seconds at 30 frames per second.

Planet Labs will distribute SkySat data via its suite of geospatial offerings.

Upon completion of the deal, Google will enter into a multi-year contract to buy Earth-imaging data from Planet.

The acquisition will allow Planet Labs to expand its available data and solutions as well as serve new customers and markets.

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As part of the deal, several Terra Bella employees will join Planet Labs to continue their work within the combined organisation.

Planet Labs cofounder and chief executive Will Marshall said in a blogpost, “We’ve long admired what the team at Terra Bella has achieved and we think the SkySat constellation of 7 high resolution satellites is highly complementary to Planet’s existing medium resolution 60-satellite fleet.

“The former enable regular, rapidly updated snapshots of select areas of the globe at sub-meter resolution; the latter regular, global coverage at 3-5 meter resolution. The two systems under one roof will be truly unique and will enable valuable new capabilities.”

Google VP of product and engineering Jen Fitzpatrick said: “Terra Bella has accomplished a lot in the past two years—including the design and launch of five more satellites. We’re excited to see what’s ahead for Terra Bella, and look forward to being a long-term customer.”

Established in 2010 by a team of ex-NASA scientists, Planet Labs is an American Earth imaging private firm based in San Francisco, California.

The company designs and manufactures Triple-CubeSat miniature satellites, dubbed Doves that are then delivered into orbit as passengers on other rocket launch missions.

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