RapidEye Inks Imagery Deal with NGA Worth $4.6 Million

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PARIS — The U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) has contracted with Canadian-German Earth observation satellite operator RapidEye to purchase up to $4.6 million in RapidEye imagery over the next 18 months, RapidEye announced Sept. 6.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract is the first NGA purchase of RapidEye data. Brandenburg, Germany-based RapidEye, which was recently purchased by Canada’s Iunctus Geomatics of Lethbridge, Alberta, operates a fleet of five identical optical observation satellites, which have been in orbit since mid-2008.

The satellites offer relatively low-resolution imagery but, evenly spaced in low Earth orbit, they are able to cover vast swaths of territory — 4 million square kilometers per day — and offer relatively quick revisits to a given locale.

NGA is the principal U.S. government agency responsible for purchasing satellite imagery from the private sector. It has long-term contracts with high-resolution-satellite operators GeoEye and DigitalGlobe of the United States, and also has purchased radar imagery from Italian and German radar satellite operators.