Posted on August 4th, 2015

Our Perspective on Planet Labs’ Acquisition of BlackBridge

A 5-meter color image collected by RapidEye over Barcelona International Airport, Spain on July 23, 2012. (Image Credit: BlackBridge)

By now you have probably heard the news that Planet Labs be acquire BlackBridge, the operator of the 5-satellite, 5-meter, 5-band constellation referred to as RapidEye. It is not the intent of this article to comment on the financial or “corporate” side of the pending acquisition, we will leave that to the experts. Rather, as we are the sole provider of satellite imagery for many of our readers, the intent of this article is to provide our perspective on the combination of BlackBridge and Planet Labs.

Little Will Change With Regards to RapidEye Imagery

From our conversations with RapidEye, little to nothing will change when it comes to pricing of archive and tasking orders, minimum order sizes and corridor widths nor tasking timelines. We think this is the single most important piece of news we can provide to our Geospatial Times readers. If you have any active or pending orders for 5-meter RapidEye imagery, your quotes are still valid as are your tasking timelines.

Change Happens

No industry is immune to corporate mergers and acquisitions, and this is also true for our industry, take for example the merger of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye in 2013 that we commented on here. The BlackBridge-Planet Labs acquisition will just mean new and exciting things for satellite imagery users; and after a few years, few if anyone will even remember the date the acquisition was completed.

Access to a New Constellation of Satellites

Planet Labs has plans to launch a constellation of 3 to 5 meter, medium to nano-sized satellites. The pending acquisition should provide all RapidEye reseller, such as Apollo Mapping, access to this new and expanded medium-resolution imagery capacity.

More Capital to Build Exciting Products and Services

Between the two companies, they have raised more than $200 million in funding. Having access to this significant amount of capital will let the combined company built new and exciting products and services, not just launch satellites. Perhaps they will develop a subscription model similar to DigitalGlobe’s Basemap service?

If you have any questions about the pending acquisition of BlackBridge and/or require additional details about 5-meter RapidEye imagery such as pricing and coverage, please contact the Apollo Mapping sales team at sales@apollomapping.com or (303) 993-3863.

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