Approved for 10cm

posted on
December 30, 2021

Albedo is approved to collect 10-centimeter imagery!

We are very excited to share that Albedo has been granted a license from NOAA to sell 10cm satellite imagery commercially.

Yes, you heard that right. 

By far, the most common question we have received since the inception of Albedo has been:

"Isn't it illegal to sell 10cm imagery?"

We can finally delete our saved email response snippets detailing the convoluted explanation of the gray area we were in previously. The new regulations released in July 2020, and the impressive execution of these rules by NOAA’s Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office, have brought Albedo one step closer to making aerial quality imagery from space a reality.

This resolution of satellite imagery will bring another level of transparency and visibility on a global scale. Local governments will have the detail they need to improve urban planning. Coarser resolution imagery has revealed potential Uyghur detention camps in China - our 10-centimeter imagery can act as a zoom-in lens for verification. Insurers and solar companies will be able to more accurately measure roofs and characterize properties.  Carbon offset projects using canopy heights to measure carbon sequestration can reduce their dependency on local drone data and scale globally.

In reality, the main hurdle to capturing 10cm imagery from space has been the technological challenge rather than the regulatory barrier. Flying an imaging satellite at traditional LEO altitudes drives a school-bus sized space telescope to capture 10cm imagery, resulting in a business model that doesn't work for commercial markets. Albedo's proprietary VLEO architecture makes it possible to do this at a price point that will work for our customers. That said, we are deeply grateful to the tremendous group effort between industry and government officials on developing new regulations that enable domestic innovation to thrive while still protecting National Security.

While we are excited to share this news with the entire community, we are especially thrilled to show our future customers that we are one step closer to providing commercial 10cm imagery. Every customer interaction, website inquiry, and new use case we learn about, motivates us to continue building our imagery products to be accessible, transparent, and of the highest quality. We can't wait to bring this new level of visibility and transparency to our world.

Note: Our license, reflective of our satellite's capability, allows 10cm GSD panchromatic imagery and pan-sharpened imagery processed with 40cm GSD RGBN pixels.

The Albedo Team