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Photo: NASA

The satellite company Planet announced Wednesday that it's planning to go public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Why it matters: Planet operates the largest fleet of Earth-observing satellites, with more than 190 spacecraft taking photos of the world each day.

What's happening: Planet expects the deal to be closed in the last quarter of this year, and the company to be valued at about $2.8 billion.

  • According to Planet CEO Will Marshall, the SPAC will allow the company to accelerate plans to offer updated analytical tools for their customers and invest more in sales and marketing.
  • "Planet has done some great things with serving value to our customers and having impact on the world, but it's the tip of the iceberg of our potential," Marshall told Axios.

How it works: Planet's data can be used to track relatively small changes on Earth from day to day, allowing customers to see things like deforestation from above.

  • The company is also involved with the Carbon Mapper project to monitor carbon emissions from orbit.

What to watch: Planet is one of several space companies with plans to go public in the coming year.

  • The space industry as a whole is growing but is still looking for ways to attract more non-government customers. SPACs can help companies find new lines of revenue but carry the risk of being at the whims of the market.
  • For example, the stock price of Virgin Galactic, which went public via SPAC, has been subject to a fair amount of volatility even though it hasn’t yet entered in to commercial operations.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 13, 2021 - Science

Blue Origin launches William Shatner, 3 others to space

The crew of NS-18, Audrey Powers, William Shatner, Chris Boshuizen and Glen de Vries, with CrewMember 7 Sarah Knights. Photo Courtesy of Blue Origin.

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin successfully flew William Shatner — Captain Kirk himself from "Star Trek" — and three other astronauts to space for its second human mission on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The launch was another step toward proving the company can safely launch people to suborbital space and bring them back to Earth.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.