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June 14th, 2024
Leveraging Satellite Data and Artificial Intelligence, U.S. Government Customers Showcase Using Tech for Intelligence at Planet-hosted Event, Including NGA, Space Force, and NASA

SAN FRANCISCO — Planet Labs PBC (NYSE: PL), a leading provider of daily data and insights about Earth, yesterday hosted their “ Planet On The Road” conference in the Washington, D.C. area, showcasing their U.S. government and commercial customers and partners. Speakers included Major General Gregory J. Gagnon, Deputy Chief of Space Operations and Intelligence at U.S. Space Force; Devin Brande, Director, Commercial Operations Group at National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA); and Florence Tan, Deputy Chief Technologist of NASA Science Mission Directorate. The in-person event focused on how the combination of artificial intelligence and Planet satellite data is being used for national security and intelligence, strategic deterrence, and maritime domain awareness.

In a fireside chat hosted by Planet’s Robert Cardillo, Chief Strategist and Chairman of the Board of Planet Federal, Major General Gagnon discussed the U.S. Space Force’s new commercial strategy. Their strategy aims to leverage the commercial sector’s scalable production and rapid technology refresh rates to complement their existing operations and enhance the resilience of national security space architectures. At the event, Major General Gagnon expanded on how the U.S. Space Force has been leveraging commercial capabilities to enhance situational awareness, strengthen deterrence, and support strategic space advantage for the U.S. and its allies.

“Our commercial strategy can be wrapped up like this: We need to move fast. And we need to move fast for a very important reason, because our adversary is moving very fast. The remote sensing market is pivoting and changing. It’s now about the insights,” said Major General Gregory J. Gagnon, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Intelligence, U.S. Space Force. “These commercial satellites are shining sunlight, revealing the truth, and sunlight matters.”

In a panel discussion, moderated by Dave Gauthier, Chief Strategy Officer, GXO Inc., Devin Brande shared how NGA supports the U.S. government’s strategic deterrence initiatives. NGA conducts intelligence analyses with geospatial data, building indications that can monitor behavior and detect activity internationally. With access to robust satellite imagery archives, NGA is able to look through time and across vast areas to see military movements, predicting actions and identifying early warnings. In the same panel, Philip Ritcheson, Specialist Executive at Deloitte shared how geospatial data informs operational planning for governments and intelligence entities while Renny Babiarz, Vice President, Analysis and Operations at AllSource Analysis, a Planet partner, expanded on the importance of utilizing satellite data to alert governments regarding location-based information and change detection in near real-time. Notably AllSource Analysis reveals insights into international space launches.

“One area we are really excited about is the magnitude of data coming through. But how do we go to the next level? How do we make more effective use of that? Analytics. We need to bring to bear a human-computer team. In the government, we have so many edge cases that require deep domain expertise as well as deep data expertise,” said Devin Brande, Director, Commercial Operations Group, NGA.

The conference focused on how the latest advances in artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the intelligence and commercial industries. Planet partner SynMax showcased how they have combined Planet satellite data with their proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms to create a maritime awareness solution for classifying and monitoring dark vessels. In March, Planet announced that they are providing this solution to the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific for vessel detection and monitoring over key areas of interest throughout the Pacific. Energy company PG&E shared how Planet’s AI-informed analytics feed on vegetation encroachment is enabling them to detect and manage vegetation surrounding their energy infrastructure in real near-time, helping to mitigate wildfire risk and protect civilians and ecosystems.

The conference expanded to a global conversation as Planet CEO and Co-Founder Will Marshall hosted international space attachés to discuss how Planet’s platform and data are leveraged by international governments. The dialogue welcomed the German Aerospace Center, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency to share how their governments are embracing new geospatial capabilities to advance society’s sustainability, science, climate, and development priorities.

“In short, what Planet powers is what we dub ‘broad area management’ — allowing governments and businesses around the world to monitor large areas and take action,” said Planet CEO and Co-founder Will Marshall. “The Earth observation ecosystem is standing in front of a massive opportunity and we have only captured a fraction of it and we are pushing to capture even more by working with our customers and partners.”

In a NASA-moderated session, university researchers and scientists shared how they are applying Planet’s satellite data to persistent challenges associated with human-impacted climate change and disasters, helping advance our understanding of our world and shape a resilient future. Through the NASA Commercial SmallSat Acquisition Program (CSDA), Planet supports thousands of users across 25 government agencies.

This conference follows Planet’s earnings report, released last week, which announced that the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) renewed their contract for PlanetScope monitoring, SkySat high resolution tasking, and Planet’s data archive under the EOCL program. Planet also announced that they successfully completed two seven-figure pilot programs for the United States Department of Defense (DOD) in which they provided PlanetScope data enhanced with AI-based partner solutions.

Comprehensive List of Guest Speakers:

  • Devin Brande, Director, Commercial Operations Group, NGA
  • Major General Gregory J. Gagnon, Deputy Chief of Space Operations for Intelligence, U.S. Space Force
  • Renny Babiarz, Vice President, Analysis and Operations, AllSource Analysis
  • Phil Ritcheson, Ph.D., Specialist Executive, Deloitte
  • Dave Gauthier, Chief Strategy Officer, GXO Inc.
  • Marc Jochemich, Head DLR Washington Office, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • Masami Onoda, Director, Washington D.C. Office, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
  • Jill Smyth, Counselor for Space Affairs, Canadian Space Agency
  • Jeff Pituch, Deputy Lead, NASA Lifelines
  • David Roy, Professor, Department of Geography, Environment, & Spatial Sciences and Director, Center for Global Change and Earth Observations, Michigan State University
  • Sergii Skakun, Associate Professor, University of Maryland College Park
  • Lindsey Smart, Climate and Ocean Scientist, The Nature Conservancy
  • Florence Tan, Deputy Chief Technologist, NASA Science Mission Directorate
  • Dean Harkess, Director of Product, SynMax
  • Jeremy Groeteke, Head of Computational Agronomy, Syngenta Group
  • Justin Dhooghe, Expert Data Scientist, PG&E
  • Carolyn duPont, Chief Operating Officer, Upstream Tech

Planet Speakers:

  • Will Marshall, Co-founder and CEO, Planet
  • Ashley Johnson, President and Chief Financial Officer, Planet
  • Robert Cardillo, Chief Strategist and Chairman of the Board, Planet Federal, and Former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
  • Troy Toman, SVP of Product and Software Engineering, Planet
  • Bill Raymond, Director of Federal Solutions Engineering, Planet
  • Mike Merit, Chief Customer Officer, Planet
  • Silas Ahn, Director of DoD/IC and Maritime Expert, Planet

Note: The U.S. Government’s attendance at the event does not imply or constitute Department of Defense endorsement.