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Booz Allen Invests in Albedo to Develop Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) Satellite Constellation

January 23, 2024

Booz Allen Hamilton announced that its corporate venture capital arm, Booz Allen Ventures, LLC, has made a strategic investment in Albedo, the first company to operate satellites in very low earth orbit (VLEO), which enables them to offer ultra-high resolution commercial imagery from space. This investment supports Albedo’s operational constellation deployment and is aligned to Booz Allen’s efforts to accelerate U.S. space capabilities with the power of data.

“This is one of the most forward-looking space investments Booz Allen has ever made and comes at a critical juncture when space capabilities are needed to solve our nation’s greatest challenges—geopolitical competition, regional instability, catastrophic climate change, and more,” said Chris Bogdan, executive vice president at Booz Allen and leader of the firm’s Space business. “The level of detail that can be captured by Albedo’s low-flying satellites—fusing both optical and infrared sensor data—is unprecedented in the commercial market. It represents a significant leap in satellite earth imaging so our clients have access to timely, highly accurate, global intelligence to then speed and improve their decision making.”

This is the first space-specific investment made by Booz Allen Ventures, and is aligned with the fund’s focus on providing leading-edge, innovative technologies to those who need it most—and fast—with emphasis on dual-use commercial technology solutions.

“Albedo is revolutionizing the industry by making high-resolution images and imagery-as-a-service more accessible and affordable, both commercially and for the federal government,” said Travis Bales, managing director of Booz Allen Ventures. “We invested in Albedo because of their approach: successfully combining high-resolution imaging typical of aerial, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and balloon platforms with the scalable, persistent, global coverage of satellites. This unlocks vast applications across multiple sectors, including defense and intelligence, climate, infrastructure, agriculture, energy, and urban planning, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

VLEO is positioned about half the distance between low Earth orbit (LEO) and the Earth’s surface and is a new orbit that has not been fully utilized by the commercial market. Albedo is the first space company to commercialize this new frontier and offer high-resolution, aerial-quality imagery from space at a lower cost. This investment further supports the ability to leverage space as a critical data source for Booz Allen and its clients in the defense, national security, and civil arenas.

“Ultra-high-resolution imagery, coupled with thermal infrared, can be leveraged across a breadth of applications, for everything from urban planning and pipeline monitoring to U.S. and allied military operations,” said Topher Haddad, CEO of Albedo. “Our mission is to provide users imagery to see details with clarity to then act with certainty, be it a warzone, preventing a wildfire spark by a power line, or improving crop yield. And that's only the start of what VLEO can enable for how we observe and protect our world.

Booz Allen joined the funding round with lead Standard Investments, in addition to Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Shield Capital, Initialized Capital, Y Combinator, Giant Step Capital, Republic Capital, and other undisclosed participants.

This investment builds on Booz Allen’s deep history of delivering space solutions to NASA, the intelligence community, and Department of Defense. The firm’s more than 50 years of multifaceted support includes the International Space Station, modernization of NASA’s infrastructure, engineering and analysis for the Artemis mission, and the Cybersecurity and Privacy Enterprise Solutions and Services (CyPrESS) contract—the first time NASA has united cybersecurity for IT, operational technology, and mission systems under one contract. Booz Allen also provides systems engineering and integration for U.S. Space Force space constellations and develops advanced ground space system capabilities for the intelligence community.

Since launching in 2022, Booz Allen’s $100 million corporate venture capital arm has made eight previous strategic investments in early-stage companies developing dual-use commercial technologies with focus on four core areas: defense, artificial intelligence/machine learning, cybersecurity, and emerging/deep technology. Previous Booz Allen Ventures investments include Latent AI, Synthetaic, Reveal Technology, Credo AI, Hidden Level, Shift5, Hidden Layer, and Second Front (2F).

Read more about Booz Allen Ventures and Booz Allen’s innovative space solutions and capabilities.

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