This article was updated March 1 at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
SAN FRANCISCO — EOS Data Analytics asked Earth observation companies worldwide to share up-to-date optical and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery of Ukraine and neighboring countries to assist Ukrainian military and humanitarian efforts.
U.S. imagery providers, though, could be prevented from working directly with EOS Data Analytics owner Noosphere Venture Partners, which was added in December to the U.S. government list of individuals and organizations not permitted to receive federal contracts or assistance. The notice published on the SAM.gov website cited the U.S. Air Force as the excluding agency but gave no explanation for the entry. SpaceNews confirmed Noosphere Venture Partners’ inclusion on the Excluded Parties List System after Tim Fernholz of Quartz tweeted a statement attributed to SAR-provider Capella saying it could not help EOS Data Analytics since “certain parties” associated with the request are on the list.
EOS Data Analytics of Menlo Park, California, is a portfolio company of Noosphere Venture Partners, an investment firm based in the United States with offices throughout Ukraine. Both companies were founded by Ukrainian-born entrepreneur Max Polyakov, who is in the process of selling its stake in Firefly Aerospace, another Noosphere Venture company, to AE Industrial Partners. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States asked Polyakov to divest his stake in the launch vehicle developer.
EOS Data Analytics announced Feb. 28 that it had updated its EOS Data Analytics platform to process, analyze and share remote sensing data with Ukraine’s armed forces and humanitarian organizations.
“The economic, political, and humanitarian consequences of the war in Ukraine already are too high to stand on the sidelines,” Polyakov said in a statement. “If you can help us, please provide the SAR data that actually makes a difference, not the archived or otherwise outdated optical images that are good for PR purposes and as evidence of war crimes for future international criminal court proceedings.”
EOS Data Analytics is particularly interested in gaining speedy access to SAR imagery because optical observations of the region often are obstructed by clouds.
EOS Data Analytics “needs current/live SAR data to be able to provide awareness and relevant intelligence regarding enemy troops and equipment activities (especially refueling operations) during the night and irrespective of cloud coverage, which is impossible with optical data,” according to the news release. “In the best-case scenario, optical data is only useful for 2-3 hours during the day, while most enemy attacks and activities are conducted under the cover of the night.”
The company also is interested in obtaining medium- or high-resolution electro-optical imagery that is delivered quickly to show activities on the ground, including the location of armored vehicles.
EOS Data Analytics “understands that some data providers may face certain restrictions when engaging with a private company in Ukraine,” according to the news release. If companies prefer to deliver data directly to a government agency, EOS Data Analytics is offering to put people in contact with government officials, including Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine minister of digital transformation (the same official who issued a Feb. 26 call for SpaceX to send Starlink broadband terminals to the country).
“We badly need the opportunity to watch the movement of Russian troops, especially at night when our technologies are blind in fact!” Fedorov wrote in a letter addressed to senior representatives of Planet, Maxar Technologies, Airbus, SI Imaging Services, BlackSky, Iceye, SpaceView and Capella.“Please treat Max Polyakov and EOS Data Analytics as our representatives for this cooperation.”
@eos_da and @maxpolyakov appeal to the global remote sensing firms and organizations to provide real-time SAR data to support the Armed Forces of Ukraine with actionable intelligence. pic.twitter.com/DzfNze3K3r
— Mykhailo Fedorov (@FedorovMykhailo) March 1, 2022
A plea to would-be poachers
After issuing a plea for companies to share imagery, Polyakov took aim at firms in the United States, Europe and South Korea that he said were taking advantage of the Russian invasion to recruit Ukrainian aerospace engineers.
“All job offers to aerospace engineers in order to relocate will be considered as aggressive acts against Ukraine to steal our intellectual capital,” Polyakov said in a Feb. 28 LinkedIn post.
While it’s OK for companies with research and development centers in Ukraine to offer to relocate workers, firms that did not have a presence in Ukraine and are using the “situation where my country is suffering in order to improve your companies” are “BAD,” Polyakov wrote.
“Ukraine going to win and we need our talent, give respect please,” hewrote.