U.S. Army Taps Andrews for Second Kestrel Eye Satellite

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Andrews Space of Seattle will develop, build and deliver a high-resolution imaging satellite for the U.S. Army as part the Kestrel Eye program, the company said in a Jan. 31 announcement.

The satellite, known as Kestrel Eye Block 2 and funded by the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC), is intended to bolster the Army’s reconnaissance capability.

The selection of Andrews space represents a change of contractors on the Kestrel Eye program. Maryland Aerospace of Crofton is building the first satellite, a 15-kilogram craft slated to launch this year aboard a Falcon 9 rocket.

“We are deeply honored that the US Army SMDC has selected Andrews Space for this important program,” Jason Andrews, president and chief executive of Andrews Space, said in the press release. “We look forward to demonstrating that low-cost, persistent imagery is achievable and repeatable utilizing commercial technologies, and that this platform can provide a valuable new tier of imaging capability to traditional reconnaissance missions.”

SMDC in Huntsville, Ala., took over the Kestrel Eye project in 2009.

“From a functional viewpoint, [Kestrel Eye’s] benefits to the warfighter might be thought of as similar to those of a ‘high flying [unmanned aerial vehicle]’ in providing near real time situational or battlespace awareness,” Army spokesman John H. Cummings said Jan. 15 in an emailed response to questions.