Satellite operator Umbra has achieved a new milestone in commercial space imaging with the release of a 16 cm/pixel Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) image. This image sets a new record for the highest resolution commercial satellite image ever dropped, providing customers access to a level of detail that was previously restricted to government use.
Umbra president Gabe Dominocielo expressed excitement over the company’s ability to offer customers the highest resolution images captured by their satellites. This breakthrough opens up opportunities for further expansion of products and services to meet the growing demands of customers.
The sale of commercial satellite images was initially permitted by the US a few decades ago, but restrictions on super-high resolution imaging remained in place. However, in recent years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun to loosen these restrictions, allowing satellite operators to expand into various end markets and use cases. As a result, Umbra was able to release the 16-cm image due to the recent relaxation of NOAA’s 25-cm restriction on the company’s commercial imaging capabilities.
Umbra operates six SAR satellites, providing services to the US government, allied nations, and commercial customers. Unlike optical imaging, Umbra’s SAR radars are not dependent on light, enabling high-resolution imaging regardless of lighting conditions or weather. The company has secured contracts from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), Air Force, and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
This new achievement in commercial space imaging signifies an important step forward in the industry’s capabilities and opens up new possibilities for satellite operators to meet the growing demands of customers in various sectors.