Albedo, the newest space corporation to enter the popular Y Combinator start-up accelerator, intends to set up a 10 centimeter per pixel resolution satellite constellation providing Earth imagery. That is the same resolution that created a stir when, in August 2019, former President Trump tweeted pictures of a badly destroyed Iranian launchpad. At the time, geospatial mapping analysts indicated that the imagery was actually captured by secret NRO surveillance satellites costing more than $1 billion. (Prices and capacities of NRO satellites are classified.)
Albedo aims to minimize the expense of capturing 10-centimeter resolution electro-optical imagery as well as two-meter resolution thermal imagery by operating refrigerator-sized satellites at the low altitudes with the large-aperture cameras. “To accomplish this resolution effectually, there are technological advances we are using today to operate super low,” Topher Haddad, co-founder as well as Chief executive of Albedo, informed SpaceNews. For instance, Denver-based Albedo intends to empower satellites with the electric propulsion and develop them for the on-orbit refueling. Haddad stated he is sure that refueling will be possible in the low Earth orbit until Albedo requires approximately two years refilling the first generation of the satellites after the deployment.
“By rendering imagery accessible and incorporating the tremendous value of the high resolution, our aim is to increase the demand,” Haddad added. Although 10-centimeter imagery is not available for sale commercially without a special authorization in the United States, Haddad is adamant that by the moment it starts deploying satellites in the year 2024 and develops a constellation of 24 satellites in the year 2027, Albedo will encounter few constraints. Haddad, who served at the Lockheed Martin as a senior systems engineer, worked on confidential remote sensing projects, co-founded Albedo with Winston Tri, who used to work at Facebook as a software engineer, as well as AJ Lasater, a former employee of Lockheed Martin systems, who served as an architecture manager, in the year 2020.
When they entered Y Combinator, a venture start-up accelerator located in Mountain View in California, whose space sector alumni include Astranis, Momentus as well as Relativity Space, the trio started working on Albedo full time. In the startups that it picks, Y Combinator spends. Eric Migicovsky, who is a partner at Y Combinator, stated Albedo “has a huge amount of work it is supposed to do.” “I could see this as being a no-brainer for the customers if they can develop at the pace they are preparing and get to the level of quality.” Albedo founders have held detailed interviews with potential clients while engaging in Y Combinator and received letters of intent priced at $56 million, Haddad stated.