SAN FRANCISCO – Albedo raised $35 million to build and launch its first high-resolution Earth-imagery satellite.

The Series A-1 investment round, led by Standard Investments, brings the Earth-observation startup’s total funding to $97 million.

The investments announced Jan. 23 will accelerate deployment of Albedo’s very low Earth orbit (VLEO) constellation. Albedo aims to “ultimately prove out and proliferate the world’s first high-resolution VLEO platform,” Albedo CEO Topher Haddad told SpaceNews by email.

10 centimeter resolution

Since Albedo was founded in 2020, the company has developed a platform to collect optical imagery with a native resolution of 10 centimeters per pixel and two-meter thermal imagery. Similar resolution is obtained by aircraft and classified reconnaissance satellites.

Albedo aims to provide commercial and defense customers with on-demand, high frequency coverage. 

“As geopolitical tensions rise and we approach an irreversible climate change tipping point, the need for innovative dual-use technologies is crucial in sustaining a safe global environment,” Haddad said in a statement.

VLEO “will open up a wide variety of exciting opportunities around enhanced imagery and data collection, which is a key unmet challenge in modernizing industry and infrastructure,” Ben Sampson, Standard Investments managing director, said in a statement. In connection with the investment, Sampson is joining Albedo’s board of directors.

New and existing investors

New Albedo investors include Booz Allen Ventures, Cubit Capital and Bill Perkins. Existing investors contributing to the round include Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Shield Capital, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, Giant Step Capital and Republic Capital.

Albedo is one of five commercial startups working with the National Reconnaissance Office. Under an agreement announced in December, the NRO will examine Albedo’s technical, business and cybersecurity plans. Once Albedo begins collecting space data, the NRO will evaluate its data products.

In preparation for launching its first satellite in 2025, Albedo expanded its staff. The company also established a facility in Broomfield, Colorado, large enough to build three or four satellites simultaneously.

Albedo has won two Small Business Innovation Research contracts valued at a $1.25 million apiece.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...