Terra Bella, The Alphabet Satellite Business, Was Sold To Planet Labs

terra bella sign
Google announced that it is selling Terra Bella, its satellite imaging business to Planet Labs Inc.

Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, announced that it is selling Terra Bella, its satellite imaging business to Planet Labs Inc. At the same time, it will be purchasing SkySat imaging data.

Terra Bella was formerly known as Skybox Imaging. The company is based in Mountain View, California. Founded in 2009, it became a Google subsidiary in 2014. Terra Bella is specialized in providing high-resolution satellite imagery data. It also offers high—definition videos. And also analytics services.

The company satellites are called the SkySat. They have already formed a constellation. One that provides high-resolution satellite imagery.

Terra Bella was acquired by Google back in 2014. At the time, the Internet giant company paid $500 million for the satellite imagery company. No financial details have been offered in relation to the current sales deal.

An announcement on the matter came late last week. On February 03, Google announced that it will be selling Terra Bella. The sale will also include the existing SkySat constellation.

Planet Labs, Inc will be the one to acquire the satellite business. Planet Labs was formerly known as Cosmogia, Inc. Founded in 2010, it is based in San Francisco, California. Planet Labs is also an Earth-imaging company. It is the designer and manufacturer of the Doves satellites. These latter are Triple-CubeSat satellites. Their miniature versions.

Dove satellites perform continuous scans of our planet. The ensuing data is then passed over to a ground station. They are also used in Earth imaging and analytics.

Few details have been offered about the Terra Bella acquisition deal. It is known that Planet Labs will take over the SkySat operations. But the terms of the agreement are as yet unknown.

Media reports suggest the following. Google may receive an equity stake in the satellite imaging startup. This will be received in exchange for its Earth-imaging hardware.

Google may also continue using SkySat’s high-res data. But it may do so by acquiring it from its new owner. The Internet giant will reportedly sign a multi-year contract for the satellite imagery data.

Some of the Terra Bella employees will also reportedly be joining Planet Labs. Media reports estimate that about 60 workers will be moving to the latter.

Reports about a potential sale started emerging in January. And last Friday, Planet Labs confirmed the acquisition. Terra Bella was involved in various Google projects. It offered data for its Earth-imagery services, such as Google Earth.

But it was also part of its worldwide Internet connectivity efforts. Reports show that the giant company is scaling back on this latter project.

After the deal will close, Google will continue using SkySata data. It will still be used for Google Earth. But it will now be bought from Planet Labs.

This latter also offered some details as to its plans for Terra Bella. It will be using its imagery powers to try and enlarge its customer base. The high-resolution data could attract deals in other new markets as well. Such areas could include the disaster relief segment. And also financial and insurance domains.

According to reports, Google considers that it can simplify its business. By purchasing, instead of operating the satellite network, it will also reportedly be saving money.

Still, financial terms of the current acquisition or of the future multi-year deal have not been released.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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