Earth-observing satellite startup Planet is going public

The San Francisco-based company, which operates the world's largest fleet of Earth-observing satellites, announced Wednesday (July 7) that it will merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) called dMY Technology Group, Inc. IV.

Planet's move is part of a SPAC wave sweeping across the space industry. Astra, Rocket Lab, and Redwire have all announced SPAC mergers in recent months, for example, and Virgin Orbit is considering one as well.

The transaction values Planet at $2.8 billion and will take the company public. The planet will be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker name PL.

Planet generates 25 terabytes of data every day from about 200 satellites, most of them shoebox-sized CubeSats known as Doves (or, more recently, SuperDoves). The company sells this information to a variety of customers, from government agencies to farmers.

Planet also releases especially important photos and data free of charge imagery that can help first responders deal with natural disasters such as wildfires and earthquakes, for example. And Planet data help scientists and resource managers monitor climate change, deforestation, and other problems plaguing the globe, company representatives say.

Planet CEO and co-founder Will Marshall said, as the world shifts to a more sustainable economy and more companies and governments set their sustainability and ESG [environmental, social, and governance] goals, the first step in achieving these objectives is the measurement. Planet's daily, global data is foundational to making that transition, the company images Earth's entire landmass every day. "We're excited to reach this important milestone of taking Planet public to significantly accelerate our mission, and to be doing so with dMY and other great investors.

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