A space investment announced by Booz Allen Ventures
According to a senior official on January 23, Booz Allen’s venture capital arm invested in space business Albedo, a remote sensing startup, because of its potential to revolutionize intelligence collection.
Albedo said on Tuesday that it had raised $35 million to construct and deploy a constellation of satellites for ultra-high resolution Earth photography. Booz Allen Ventures was one of the venture capital firms that took part in the funding round.
The big consulting company Booz Allen, which is well-known for its work with the US military and government, established its corporate venture division in 2022 and currently oversees a $100 million fund.
According to Chris Bogdan, executive vice president of Booz Allen and head of the company’s space division, “we are focused on investments in data coming from space,” SpaceNews was informed.
According to him, Booz Allen plans to actively collaborate with Albedo to offer its technology to users in the defense and intelligence sectors as well as for civilian uses in the areas of urban planning, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and climate.
Aside from space, Booz Allen Ventures intends to invest in a wide range of digital fields, such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and analytics.
Drones and balloons could be replaced by satellites
For overhead information, Bogdan said, the U.S. military now uses sporadic satellite passes, drone flights, high-altitude balloons, and restricted observation aircraft. In contrast, Albedo promises more constant eyes in the sky that can monitor enemy movements or track targets of interest.
The low-flying satellites from Albedo are intended to conduct surveillance from 200–300 mile altitudes in very low Earth orbit. As a result, the satellites are able to collect high-resolution imagery without endangering the safety of drones or aircraft operators flying near enemy weaponry.
A bird’s-eye picture of the entire battlefield, updated every few minutes with 10-centimeter resolution, would be a major increase over present technologies, according to Bogdan, a former lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force.
“For a client who needs very accurate photos in the middle of the Pacific, a very low Earth orbit satellite can revisit that target five or six times a day, at a resolution that’s five times better than what’s in low Earth orbit today, and comparable and better than what our aerial assets do,” he said.
Bogdan noted that the U.S. military has had difficulty moving away from airborne platforms despite advancements in space-based surveillance. He went on, “Air Force culture favors air platforms.” Some believe they have less control over assets that are in space. A restricted number of satellites are contested for access by numerous government agencies, “and the Air Force feels like they don’t want to have to get in line.”
Nevertheless, Bogdan acknowledged that “satellites today can’t provide the same accuracy, the same resolution, and the same quality of data that those airplanes could.” “Albedo will be among the first businesses to demonstrate that it is possible.”