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Earth-observing satellite startup Planet is going public

This photo, captured by one of Planet's Dove Earth-imaging cubesats on March 25, 2021, shows the container ship Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal (top left) and the queue of ships waiting to enter the canal from the Red Sea.
This photo, captured by one of Planet's Dove Earth-imaging cubesats on March 25, 2021, shows the container ship Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal (top left) and the queue of ships waiting to enter the canal from the Red Sea. (Image credit: Planet Labs, Inc.)

Planet is going public, too.

The San Francisco-based company, which operates the world's largest fleet of Earth-observing satellites, announced Wednesday (July 7) that it will merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV.

Planet's move is part of a SPAC wave sweeping across the space industry. Astra, Rocket Lab and Redwire have all announced SPAC mergers in recent months, for example, and Virgin Orbit is considering one as well.

Related: The top 10 views of Earth from space

The transaction values Planet at $2.8 billion and will take the company public. Planet will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name "PL," company representatives said.

Planet generates 25 terabytes of data every day from about 200 satellites, most of them shoebox-sized cubesats known as Doves (or, more recently, SuperDoves). The company sells this information to a variety of customers, from government agencies to farmers.

Planet also releases especially important photos and data free of charge — imagery that can help first responders deal with natural disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes, for example. And Planet data help scientists and resource managers monitor climate change, deforestation and other problems plaguing the globe, company representatives say. 

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"As the world shifts to a more sustainable economy and more companies and governments set their sustainability and ESG [environmental, social and governance] goals, the first step in achieving these objectives is measurement," Planet CEO and co-founder Will Marshall said in a statement.

"Planet's daily, global data is foundational to making that transition," he added, noting that the company images Earth's entire landmass every day. "We're excited to reach this important milestone of taking Planet public to significantly accelerate our mission, and to be doing so with dMY and other great investors."

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook. 

Mike Wall
SPACE.COM SENIOR SPACE WRITER — Michael has been writing for Space.com since 2010. 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. 

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