Planet Labs has raised $95 million from investors in its latest round of financing, representatives of the San Francisco-based startup said.
Planet Labs designs and builds Earth-observation satellites that are just 12 inches long by 4 inches wide by 4 inches tall (30 by 10 by 10 centimeters). Each of these cubesats, which the company calls "Doves," can capture imagery with a resolution of 10 to 16.5 feet (3 to 5 meters).
The company's goal is to provide frequent, inexpensive, high-quality Earth imagery to a variety of customers, making information about our planet much more available. Planet Labs has already launched 73 Doves to orbit, all in less than two years. (The first prototypes blasted off in April 2013.)
The number would be pushing 100, but 26 Doves were lost when Orbital Sciences' Antares rocket exploded on Oct. 28, scuttling Orbital's third contracted cargo mission to the International Space Station for NASA. (To date, most Doves have been deployed from the space station, after arriving aboard Cygnus or SpaceX's robotic Dragon capsule.)
"Planet Labs is on its way to becoming the next great commercial space company," returning investor Steve Jurvetson, a partner at the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson and a board member of Planet Labs, SpaceX and Tesla, said in a statement. "Leveraging the lower cost of access to space, businesses like Planet Labs are redefining space as the new frontier of innovation."
Get the Space.com Newsletter
Breaking space news, the latest updates on rocket launches, skywatching events and more!
Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.