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November 13th, 2023
Planet’s 1st Pelican tech demo sat plus 36 SuperDoves launch via SpaceX

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Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL) has announced that Pelican-1, the first tech demo satellite for the company’s nexgen, high-resolution Pelican fleet, along with 36 of its SuperDoves, Flock 4Q, were successfully launched to orbit on SpaceX’s Transporter-9 mission from Vandenberg Space Force Base on Saturday, November 11, 2023 — the Planet team has successfully made contact with each satellite and started its commissioning process.

The launch of Pelican-1 is a major milestone for Planet’s next-generation high-resolution mission. Over time, the Pelican constellation is expected to offer a more capable and cost-effective upgrade to the Company’s current high-resolution satellites, the SkySats. Pelican-1 is not expected to produce commercially available data; rather, the R&D satellite is tasked with collecting information and on-orbit learnings for integration into Planet’s future Pelican and Tanager designs, which share a common satellite bus.

Planet launches a number of SuperDoves each year in order to replenish its on-orbit medium resolution fleet with the latest technology and hardware. The 36 SuperDoves launched via the SpaceX Transporter-9 mission — Planet’s Flock 4Q — have started their automated commissioning process and are expected to begin collecting imagery in the coming days. Planet’s SuperDoves capture daily, 8-band data of Earth’s changing systems, allowing commercial users, researchers, and governments to gain unparalleled insight at regional and global scales.

The SpaceX Transporter-9 launch, photo courtesy of the company.

Pelican-1 was designed and built entirely by the Planet team in our manufacturing lab in San Francisco, an incredible feat to accomplish in just a few short years. I am incredibly proud of the team’s dedication to this project and ready for the next phase of the mission – collecting instrumental learnings and feedback from Pelican-1 on-orbit. These learnings will be critical to both the Pelican and Tanager missions.” — James Mason, Planet’s Senior Vice President of Space Systems

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