DigitalGlobe unveils subscription service for tasking Earth-imaging satellites without ground station

by

This article originally appeared in the April 23, 2018 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

DigitalGlobe is expanding its product line to include a new multi-year subscription service, called Rapid Access Program, that allows customers to focus the company’s high-resolution optical imaging satellites on targets of interest without paying to own and operate a ground station.

“Over the past few years, we’ve been expanding our product portfolio to include offerings for customers at different budget levels,” said John Cartwright, deputy general manager of international defense and intelligence at DigitalGlobe, a Maxar Technologies company.

The Rapid Access Program, aimed at customers with budgets of $1 million a year or more and willing to sign up for a subscription, gives customers “access to satellites with the same level of priority that our Direct Access Program customers enjoy,” Cartwright told SpaceNews. “The only difference is they don’t have to invest in a ground station.”

With the Rapid Access Program, DigitalGlobe offers customers three categories of service. SecureWatch is its entry-level product that gives customers access to the company’s online data archive and daily imagery captured by satellites operated by DigitalGlobe and its partners.

Customers who subscribe to DigitalGlobe’s Direct Access Program, its highest-level service, receive a ground terminal to directly task DigitalGlobe satellites when they pass overhead and download the imagery directly. “It’s great for missions that have to get the imagery quickly,” Cartwright said.

Rapid Access Program, the new middle tier, is a cloud-based platform that allows customers to plan imagery collections online, Cartwright said. Through a platform interface developed by Orbit Logic, an aerospace software developer based in Greenbelt, Maryland, customers can modify their collection plans 90 minutes or more prior to the image collection. DigitalGlobe then downlinks and processes the imagery, and delivers it to Rapid Access Program customers through the online platform with six hours.