SAN FRANCISCO – Near Space Labs is upgrading instruments mounted on its Swifty high-altitude balloons to capture imagery of Arizona, California and Texas with a resolution of 10 centimeters per pixel.
“We are ramping up a plan for expansion in 2022, which would allow us to cover 100 of the most populous cities in the country, including Austin, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles andNew York,” Rema Matevosyan, Near Space Labs CEO, told SpaceNews by email. In addition, the Brooklyn, New York, startup is “taking tasking requests to image custom areas of interest” throughout the continental United States, Matevosyan said.
To date, Near Space Labs has offered 30-centimeter-resolutioni imagery at prices that vary based on volume but generally fall in the range of $10 to $50 per square kilometer, Matevosyan said.
Near Space Labs intends to sell its 10-centimeter imagery for the same price, “providing three times the resolution at no additional charge,” Matevosyan said.
With the higher-resolution imagery, customers can see objects as small as soccer balls on the ground. Potential customers include city planners looking for potholes, conservation groups tracking wildlife, insurance companies surveying damaged roofs and transportation companies evaluating highway conditions.
“Right now, we are experiencing high demand for our technology, including our 10-centimeter imagery,” Matevosyan said. “We expect a large influx of business in the coming months, so we will also be expanding our team to help meet demand.”
Near Space Labs’ Swiftys, operating in the stratosphere, can capture imagery covering 400 to 1,000 square kilometers per flight.
“Near Space Labs’ new imaging capabilities are a game-changer. The combination of high-resolution, high-frequency imagery at affordable rates has simply not been available before,” John-Isaac Clark, CEO of Arturo, an AI-powered platform that derives information from aerial and satellite imagery, said in a statement. “At Arturo, by applying our machine learning models to these new images, we’re able to derive better actionable intelligence than we have before.”
Near Space Labs raised $13 million in a Series A funding round announced in September.