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A Gurugram-based company is making waves by becoming one of the first clients for a revolutionary new satellite imaging service. This service, offered by Albedo, a US-based startup, promises to deliver an unprecedented level of detail – images as sharp as those previously only available to American defense and intelligence agencies.

The key to this breakthrough lies in Clarity, Albedo’s satellite. Unlike traditional satellites, Clarity will operate in a very low Earth orbit (VLEO), significantly closer to Earth than usual. This proximity allows Clarity to capture incredibly high-resolution images, potentially down to 10 centimeters per pixel. For comparison, current commercial providers offer imagery with a resolution of 30 centimeters, which can be further enhanced to 15 centimeters.

The ability to access such detailed imagery holds immense value. During the Galwan standoff with China, for instance, the US provided crucial satellite images to Indian strategists. However, a similar request for intel during the Kargil War was denied, leading to avoidable casualties. Clarity’s technology has the potential to bridge this gap, offering valuable intel for a variety of purposes, including:

  • Defense and Intelligence Gathering: Governments, including India, are likely to be major consumers of this imagery for national security purposes.
  • Infrastructure Monitoring: These high-resolution images can be immensely useful for monitoring infrastructure projects, identifying potential issues, and ensuring timely completion.
  • Disaster Management: Clarity’s images can aid in disaster response efforts by providing detailed damage assessments and facilitating relief operations.
  • Environmental Monitoring: Tracking deforestation, pollution levels, and other environmental changes can be significantly enhanced with such detailed imagery.

While Albedo assures unprecedented affordability, some images might require vetting by US defense and intelligence agencies before reaching clients. This raises concerns about potential limitations and control over the information.