Maxar eyes customers for mobile terminals that downlink satellite imagery in the field

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"Mobile access terminals" can downlink electro-optical and radar imagery from commercial satellites

WASHINGTON — As Maxar continues to see high demand for satellite imagery, the company is looking to attract customers for its mobile terminals that give users direct access to commercial imaging satellites.

Maxar, a provider of Earth imaging and space infrastructure services, is offering a “mobile access terminal” that military units could deploy in the field to downlink electro-optical imagery from the company’s satellites and radar imagery from MDA’s Radarsat-2, as well as imagery from other commercial satellites.

We’re seeing really strong demand signals, for example, for uplinking and downlinking and tasking in theater, which we hadn’t seen from the U.S. government before,” Maxar’s president and CEO Daniel Jablonsky said May 9 during the company’s first-quarter 2022 earnings call

“So we think that’s another growth vector for us,” he said. 

Maxar displayed the tactical access hardware last month at the GEOINT 2022 symposium in Aurora, Colorado. The setup on display included a satellite antenna from Safran and a small receiver terminal used for downlinking and analyzing data. 

A spokesperson said the equipment is aimed at users, particularly military and intelligence units, who need to operate in remote locations and would need access to satellites on-demand to track and identify targets or troop movements. It’s also marketed to organizations that provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Maxar currently has four imaging satellites in orbit supporting the U.S. government and other customers, and demand has soared due to the war in Ukraine. The company is in the process of building six new WorldView Legion satellites but their launch continues to suffer delays due to supply chain and logistical problems. 

Jablonsky said during the earnings call that the first two Legions are now projected to launch in September.