23 Jun 2016 13:14 IST

‘Doves’ in space tweet duty-joining report

‘Doves’ in space tweet duty joining report

At 12.15 pm IST on Wednesday, a tweet by @dovesinspace said: “I’m in space now! Flock 2p Satellite 1 reporting for duty!” In the same way, satellite 9 reported for duty at 1.45 pm IST, satellite 7 at 2 pm IST, and satellite 12 at 3 pm IST.

These ‘duty-joining reports’ were sent out after the satellites were put into orbit by ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). Of the 20 satellites put into orbit, 12 belong to San Francisco-based start-up Planet Labs.

Thanking ISRO through a tweet, Will Marshall, co-founder and CEO of Planet Labs, said: “12 new Doves in space! In Polar orbit where they most like to fly! #globalcoverage #SatDat Thx @ISRO for the ride!”

A blog post by Planet Labs said every ‘Flock 2p satellite’ is crammed with the latest hardware and images in both Red Green Blue (RGB) and near-infrared (NIR) bands.

“The enhanced on-board technology is just the first important component of this launch –– the second is the Sun Synchronous Orbit. In this orbit, our Doves will pass each spot on the ground at the same time every day. The resulting consistent sun angle makes it easy for the human eye (and computer vision algorithms) to spot changes in the imagery over time,” it said.

It also said that the satellites will send tweets once they make the first contact.

A Bloomberg report on June 13 had said Planet Labs, founded in 2010, has more than 100 customers –– from agricultural giants to humanitarian organisations –– accessing its images and data through a software platform.

A post on the Planet Labs website said that Dove satellites act like a line scanner for the planet, creating a unique data stream that helps solve the world’s toughest challenges and triggers industry-changing opportunities.

“Our Doves, which make up the world’s largest constellation of Earth-imaging satellites, are launched in Flocks and provides a whole-Earth dataset that is unmatched in its breadth and freshness,” it said, brimming with pride.