We report on the development of the PennPET Explorer whole-body imager. Methods: The PennPET Explorer is a multiring system designed with a long axial field of view. The imager is scalable and comprises multiple 22.9-cm-long ring segments, each with 18 detector modules based on a commercial digital silicon photomultiplier. A prototype 3-segment imager has been completed and tested with an active 64-cm axial field of view. Results: The instrument design is described, and its physical performance measurements are presented. These include sensitivity of 55 kcps/MBq, spatial resolution of 4.0 mm, energy resolution of 12%, timing resolution of 256 ps, and a noise-equivalent count rate above 1,000 kcps beyond 30 kBq/mL. After an evaluation of lesion torso phantoms to characterize quantitative accuracy, human studies were performed on healthy volunteers. Conclusion: The physical performance measurements validated the system design and led to high-quality human studies.