SSL, a business unit of Maxar Technologies (formerly MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd.) announced today that six satellites it built for Planet’s SkySat Earth observation constellation launched yesterday and made initial contact with ground stations according to plan. The satellites were launched aboard a Minotaur-C rocket from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, and will begin sending their first images early next week.
“SSL takes an innovative approach to small satellite manufacturing, and leverages its agile commercial production capabilities to serve both communications and Earth observation markets,” said Dario Zamarian, group president of SSL. “It has been a pleasure for SSL to work with the Planet team, and to help support its growing capabilities. Congratulations to all who made the launch a success.”
Called SkySat 8 through 13, the six satellites, which double Planet’s high resolution imaging and change detection capabilities, provide information that can simplify and speed critical decision-making processes for its customers. The SkySat constellation now includes ten satellites built at the SSL smallsat manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, Calif., where eight additional SkySats remain in production.
“We were pleased to inherit a strong and reliable engineering and manufacturing partner when we acquired the SkySat business,” said Chester Gilmore, vice president of manufacturing at Planet. “Working together, SSL has helped us to expand our fleet, increasing our ability to provide timely insights from any location in the world.”