NASA will seek continued access to Earth observation data gathered by commercial satellite constellations after a pilot program proved the value of those observations.
Rep. Derek Kilmer said commercial geospatial data should be used to supplement imagery from classified sources.
The National Reconnaissance Office awarded a commercial imagery subscription contract to Planet Labs Federal, a subsidiary of Earth observation company Planet.
Planet is preparing to offer 50-centimeter-resolution imagery from its SkySat constellation and updating Dove satellites to gather imagery in eight spectral bands.
JSAT has lost more than half a million satellite television subscribers since 2013, when that business reached 3.83 million subscribers — the highest level in JSAT’s history.
While the concept of constellation is not new, the challenges connected to operating hundreds of spacecraft at the same time are yet to be fully understood.
The European Space Agency announced plans July 29 to evaluate data from Iceye’s radar satellite constellation, Planet’s electro optical satellites and Spire Global’s weather, maritime- and aviation-tracking satellites to complement its own Earth observation constellation.
The NRO is ready to start buying products from new vendors and move beyond the single-supplier arrangement with Maxar Technologies.
"We expect our investment in commercial in total to increase going forward," said Troy Meink, who leads NRO’s Geospatial Intelligence Directorate. "As you can imagine with the increase in requirements, there's going to be an increase in the cost.
The National Reconnaissance Office awarded commercial imagery study contracts to BlackSky Global, Maxar Technologies and Planet, Troy Meink, who leads NRO’s Geospatial Intelligence Directorate, announced June 3.
NASA awarded Planet a $6.7 million contract to provide Earth imagery for climate research.
At least a dozen fragments from India’s March 27 anti-satellite test reached altitudes above 1,000 kilometers, meaning some debris will stay in orbit much longer than estimated by India, according to research from Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI).
Earth observation company Planet plans to acquire Boundless Spatial Inc., a geospatial software specialist “to accelerate the adoption by government and enterprise customers of commercial geospatial information services,” said Robbie Schingler, Planet co-founder and chief strategy officer.
Planet's employees, customers and investors paint a picture of a company growing steadily while seeking to dramatically expand the market for data captured via satellite.