Ukraine War Puts Spy Satellites for Hire in Spotlight

AURORA, Colo.—Ukrainian forces hunting Russian tanks and tracking troop movement are being aided by imagery from a growing number of commercial spy satellites, giving Kyiv access to intelligence once the domain of only a few governments.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attack on his neighbor has coincided with a boom in the number and sophistication of commercial surveillance satellites, with hundreds now in orbit. Company officials say they are streaming data to the U.S. and allied governments, sometimes directly to Kyiv authorities to aid them in repelling Russia’s invading force, as well as to humanitarian groups to help them map the chaos and evacuate civilians.

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