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Google sells Terra Bella satellite unit to startup Planet Labs

From Google's Terra Bella website.


Satellite and mapping startup Planet Labs today announced that it has acquired the Terra Bella satellite business from Google. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Google acquired Skybox Imaging in 2014 and rebranded it to Terra Bella last year.

Once the deal closes, Google will have a multi-year contract with Planet to get satellite imaging, Planet Labs cofounder and chief executive Will Marshall wrote in a blog post.

“We’ve long admired what the team at Terra Bella has achieved and we think the SkySat constellation of 7 high resolution satellites is highly complementary to Planet’s existing medium resolution 60-satellite fleet,” Marshall wrote. “The former enable regular, rapidly updated snapshots of select areas of the globe at sub-meter resolution; the latter regular, global coverage at 3-5 meter resolution. The two systems under one roof will be truly unique and will enable valuable new capabilities.”

The Terra Bella program is separate from the Loon project from Alphabet’s X company, which is meant to beam internet down from the air. But both that and Terra Bella were far afield from some of Google’s core activities. Google has also been reportedly looking to sell its robotics group.

Based in San Francisco, Planet Labs announced that it had raised $95 million in funding and debt in early 2015. Investors include Data Collective, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Yuri Milner, Capricorn Investment Management, O’Reilly Alpha Tech Ventures, Founders Fund Angel, First Round Capital, and Innovation Endeavors.

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