The Hangzhou Bay near Shanghai is one of the world's busiest ports. Ursa Space Systems relies on synthetic aperture radar and optical imagery to offer port-monitoring services. Credit: Ursa Space Systems

WASHINGTON — Ursa Space Systems, a provider of satellite-derived intelligence, announced a new partnership with NEC Corporation, a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics firm, to offer data services in Japan utilizing synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery.

The collaboration announced June 20 combines NEC’s existing monitoring service, which leverages SAR images, with Ursa Space’s “virtual constellation” of satellite data partners. 

Ursa Space is based in Ithaca, New York. The company operates a platform that ingests data from a vast network of SAR and non-SAR satellite data providers, including optical, infrared, multi-spectral, and hyperspectral.

NEC said in a news release there is a growing demand for SAR data across various sectors in Japan, including disaster prevention and response, infrastructure management, resource exploration, agriculture and environmental monitoring.

SAR satellites can collect data regardless of weather conditions. Unlike traditional cameras, SAR radar technology can pierce through clouds, smoke, and even volcanic ash. 

Earlier this year Ursa Space secured a U.S. Space Force contract to provide SAR data in support of Japanese disaster relief efforts following an earthquake in January.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...