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Planet's new 50-centimeter imagery. Photo: Planet Labs Inc.

Planet, a company that operates more than 100 small imagery satellites in orbit, is rolling out plans to bring its trove of data to new customers across industry and government.

Why it matters: Satellite operators are now able to beam back huge amounts of data from orbit each day, but that hasn't necessarily translated into big rewards and commercial success.

Details: Planet's launch of six new SkySats on two upcoming SpaceX launches is expected to let its customers see the same spot on Earth up to 12 times per day.

  • The company is also moving some of its spacecraft in orbit in order to get higher-resolution images, showing objects as small as 50 centimeters instead of 80 centimeters.
  • "The easier we've made it for our customers to consume the data, the more imagery they want," Jim Thomason, Planet's vice president of imagery products, told Axios.
  • To that end, the company is also rolling out a new tool that will allow customers to task its SkySat satellites to get them to take photos of points on the Earth that are of interest.

The big picture: Planet expects its customers will be able to use the higher resolution imaging for urban planning or border security.

  • "Another great example is being able to see rooftops a little bit more clearly so you can better plan how to install solar panels," Mike Safyan, Planet's vice president of launch, told Axios.
  • Companies and governments can also potentially use the rapidly acquired images throughout a day to create "stop motion" images of various areas to see how they change over a short period of time.

Go deeper: Five satellites close their eyes on our planet

Go deeper

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
Aug 11, 2020 - Science

SpaceX and ULA pull in huge defense contracts

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket takes flight. Photo: SpaceX

The Space Force's announcement last week that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX will launch expensive spy satellites and other military payloads brings a long and often fierce battle for government funds to an end — at least for now.

Why it matters: This type of government money — particularly in light of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic — is key for space companies that often work on thin margins.

Fed: Rate hikes "will soon be appropriate"

The Federal Reserve's headquarters building. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Federal Reserve officials expect "it will soon be appropriate" to raise the central bank's main target interest rate, setting the stage for a rate hike at its next meeting in mid-March.

Driving the news: In a statement following a two-day meeting published Wednesday afternoon, however, the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee teed up its next move without taking new action.

How long it’s taken to confirm Supreme Court justices

Expand chart
Data: Axios research, U.S. Supreme Court, Supreme Court Historical Society; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

It takes a U.S. president an average of 70 days from the date a Supreme Court seat is vacated to nominate a replacement, according to data from the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Why it matters: With news outlets reporting liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's plans to retire, Democrats will be looking to confirm President Biden's nominee with enough time to refocus the national political debate ahead of the midterms.