The company, co-founded by Peter Thiel, will analyze satellite data in orbit.
Palantir Technologies Inc. launched its first satellite this month allowing information to be processed in orbit, instead of being gathered and sent back to Earth, a step toward broadening the applications of the data analysis software. The company, co-founded by the billionaire Peter Thiel and Alex Karp, is working with the Earth-mapping company Satellogic Inc. Palantir said its software will improve the speed and quality of data collected from space.
Palantir, a longtime government contractor, has some experience beyond Earth. It works with the military’s Space Systems Command, among other Pentagon agencies. It’s investing in the space industry and said its software can run on drones, aircraft and now satellites. Its military work has raised controversy over the years.
Karp, the chief executive officer, is seeking to expand his business on this planet, too. He wrote a letter posted to the company’s website last month that used the war in Ukraine as an opportunity to highlight Palantir’s work with the U.S. government and its allies. He said his company was able to grow because the U.S. “took an interest in software and understood its potential to reshape national defense” and that European nations should follow suit.
“The continent certainly understands that its defense and that of its allies now requires the development of an indigenous source of strength and capacity to defend itself, and quickly,” Karp wrote. “Our software is in the fight around the world.”
In an interview on Bloomberg Television, Palantir Chief Operating Officer Shyam Sankar said European governments and groups are using its software to organize the distribution of materials such as food and beds to Ukrainian refugees who fled during the war. Palantir’s software is also being used to power military responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he said.