STARTUP ACQUIRES GOOGLE’S SATELLITE IMAGING BUSINESS TERRA BELLA

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American startup Planet Labs, that launches small satellites into orbit and sells the imagery, has announced its acquisition of Google’s Terra Bella satellite business. As part of the agreement, 60 Google employees will join the startup founded by ex-NASA scientists. Terra Bella, formerly Skybox, was acquired by Google in 2014 for $500 million.

As part of the deal, Planet Labs will acquire the Terra Bella business including the SkySat constellation of satellites, Alphabet said. Google will enter into a multi-year contract to purchase Earth-imaging data from Planet Labs after the deal closes.

Google had acquired Terra Bella, originally known as Skybox Imaging, for $500 million in 2014. The deal will help Planet Labs broaden its available data and add new customers. Planet Labs is one of several startups aiming to harness technology allowing satellites to become smaller and less expensive, making it easier to deploy large networks of satellites at less risk and lower cost than previously.

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