In this Making Leaders podcast, we hear from Robert H. Schingler, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Planet Labs PBC and one of six inductees to the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame in 2022, alongside his two co-founders. Planet was founded in 2010 as Cosmogia by former NASA scientists Will Marshall, Robbie Schingler and Dr. Christopher Boshuizen. The three scientists-turned-entrepreneurs had a singular vision: to image the entire Earth every day to make changes visible, accessible and actionable. They were the first to deploy cubesats in a commercial capacity, and over the past decade, they succeeded in revolutionizing the Earth observation (EO) industry and expanding access to satellite-based data far beyond the traditional defense, intelligence and agricultural sectors.
The co-founders planned to design and build their own cubesats called Doves for launch into low Earth orbit. Their first satellite was built in the archetypal California garage. Successful fundraising permitted them to launch two demonstration satellites, Dove 1 and 2, in April 2013 and two more in November, by which time the company had announced plans for a 28-satellite constellation called Flock-1. The flock was launched from the International Space Station in 2014. The Doves on-orbit service would be initially be relatively brief due to atmospheric drag, but the low cost of manufacturing and rideshare launches would make possible rapid iteration of new generations. This iterative approach allowed Planet to rapidly improve the spacecraft capabilities and reliability while simultaneously serving customers, which was a wholly new approach in the industry. Latter generation Doves would be launched into higher orbits and see normal service lifetimes. The three Planet co-founders were inducted into the Space & Satellite Hall of Fame in 2022. Read more about the co-founders of Planet.
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