Satellite capable of spying on individual people set to launch in 2025 - and ... trends now

Satellite capable of spying on individual people set to launch in 2025 - and ... trends now
Satellite capable of spying on individual people set to launch in 2025 - and ... trends now

Satellite capable of spying on individual people set to launch in 2025 - and ... trends now

Privacy experts are sounding the alarm on a new satellite capable of spying on your every move that is set to launch in 2025.

The satellite, created by startup company Albedo, is so high quality it can zoom in on people or license plates from space, raising concerns among expert that it will create a 'big brother is always watching' scenario.

Albedo claims the satellite won't have facial recognition software but doesn't mention that it will refrain from imaging people or protecting people's privacy.

Albedo signed two separate million-dollar contracts with the U.S. Air Force and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center to help the government monitor potential threats to U.S. national security. 

The company raised $35 million last month to commercialize its Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) satellite, in addition to the $48 million it raised in September 2022.

Albedo co-founder, Topher Haddad, said he and his team hope to eventually have a fleet of 24 spacecraft.

Albedo claims the satellite won’t have facial recognition software but doesn’t mention that it will refrain from imaging people or protecting people’s privacy.

Albedo claims the satellite won't have facial recognition software but doesn't mention that it will refrain from imaging people or protecting people's privacy.

'This is a giant camera in the sky for any government to use at any time without our knowledge,' Jennifer Lynch, general counsel of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the New York Times.

'We should definitely be worried.'

'It's taking us one step closer to a Big-Brother-is-watching kind of world,' added Jonathan C. McDowell, , a Harvard astrophysicist.

Albedo was founded in 2020 and started building its satellites the following year with its close-up technology made possible by the Trump administration's steps to relax government regulations on civil satellite resolution in 2018. 

Then-President Donald Trump updated the U.S. Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices and created new guidelines for satellite design and operations. 

Under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) previous regulations, it was illegal to build a satellite could see less than 30 centimeters - at that range it could only identify cars and homes, but not individual people.

But under Trump's new directive, satellites were allowed to track objects in space about the size of 10 centimeters, which would improve how the Air Force could catalogue objects.

The satellites use Nighttime Thermal Infrared Imaging to determine if an object is passive or active and if it's moving

The satellites use Nighttime Thermal Infrared Imaging to determine if an object is passive or active and if it's moving

The majority of satellites are orbiting about 160 km (100 miles) to 2,000 km (1,242 miles) away from Earth, and all can currently home in on objects that are about 30 centimeters (one foot) in diameter.

From this distance, satellites can only view things like street signs and the tail numbers on aircraft, but Albedo aims to zoom in even closer.

The company's satellites will create images that are only 10 centimeters (four inches) in diameter, with telescope mirrors that are polished to the size of 1/1000 the size of a human hair.

Albedo's satellites will orbit as low as 100 miles away from Earth's surface and could be used for life-saving measures like helping authorities map disaster zones. Experts are concerned that they will instead be used to track individuals and affect people's privacy

Albedo's satellites will orbit as low as 100 miles away from Earth's surface and could be used for life-saving measures like helping authorities map disaster zones. Experts are concerned that they will instead be used to track individuals and affect people's privacy

The smaller centimeter imagery means the images won't be as pixelated, allowing those using the satellite to view objects, places, and people with more accuracy.

The satellites will orbit as low as 100 miles away from Earth's surface and could be used for life-saving measures like helping authorities map disaster zones.

Albedo's satellites use an intuitive interface to monitor and track trends for its existing imagery and its cloud-centric delivery pipeline can collect information in under an hour.

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