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San Francisco seen by a RapidEye satellite. Photo: Planet Labs Inc.

After about 12 years of collecting photos of Earth from orbit, a set of five satellites have closed their eyes on our planet.

The big picture: Planet's RapidEye satellites, which first launched to space in 2008, contributed to a revolution in how we understand our planet.

  • Operating satellites that can see the Earth from space was initially only the purview of the most wealthy nations.
  • However, the recent proliferation of commercial satellite companies makes Earth data available to anyone, changing how we understand weather, climate, industry and more.

Details: Planet acquired the RapidEye satellites from BlackBridge in 2015, and it's created the world's largest collection of 5-meter satellite imagery, according to the company.

  • The constellation of satellites has captured more than 660,000 pictures of Earth's total landmass, Planet said.
  • The satellites' final photos show San Francisco, Berlin and Brandenburg, Germany.
  • The satellites could still function, but Planet says it's ending their operation in part to prevent them from becoming space junk that clutters orbit.

Between the lines: While many companies are collecting and attempting to analyze the data beamed down from orbit each day, big data from space still isn't yet widely applicable to a variety of industries.

  • Most companies that operate Earth-imaging satellites still rely on government contracts and major industries like oil and gas for much of their business.

Go deeper: Tracking epidemics from space

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addresses reporters Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for re-election feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell

Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot released its latest round of subpoenas on Tuesday evening, this time focusing on several of former President Trump's lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and former adviser Boris Epshteyn.

Why it matters: The panel said the four individuals subpoenaed were involved in efforts publicly promote Trump's unfounded claims of election fraud as well as efforts to "disrupt or delay" the certification of the election's results.

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