Planet has confirmed that it will be acquiring Terra Bella from Google, although the company spokesman has said that the details of the transaction will not be made public. Google had purchased Terra Bella (formerly Skybox Imaging) in 2014 for $500 million. The current deal includes the relocation of a significant number of Terra Bella employees to Planet, located in San Fransisco, California. The acquisition includes all of Terra Bella's business dealings, along with its seven SkySat satellites. Google is subsequently expected to sign a contract to purchase imaging data from Planet.
Planet was originally founded in 2010 as Cosmogia , and had later changed its name to Planet Labs. The company's main focus is medium-resolution images from cubesat spacecraft. One of Planet's more ambitious plans includes creating a constellation of imaging satellites capable of recording images of Earth on a daily basis. Terra Bella, founded in 2009 as SkyBox Imaging, developed its own high-resolution imaging satellites and was under contract with Space Systems Loral for 13 satellites prior to being purchased by Google. Five satellites have been launched in the last seven years.
According to the statement announcing the acquisition, the transaction is beneficial to both companies. Planet has stated that acquiring Terra Bella will allow it to “diversify its available data and solutions and be able to serve new customers and markets.” According to John Fenwick, co-founder of Terra Bella, “From the start, Planet and Terra Bella have shared similar visions and approached aerospace technology from a like-minded position, and while our on-orbit assets and data are different, together we bring unique and valuable capabilities to users.”
Additional satellites will be launched by both companies in 2017. Planet is planning its biggest launch yet, with 88 Dove satellites launching on February 14th. In turn, Terra Bella was planning to launch six SkySat satellites later this year. The launch is expected to go ahead as scheduled after the acquisition deal is complete.