Seven Companies Secure $476M Contract To Provide Commercial Satellite Imagery To NASA


Under a new acquisition program, seven companies have been selected to provide NASA with commercial satellite imagery. The program has a maximum potential value of $476 million across all providers and has a contract duration of five years, with an option to extend it by six months.

Key Takeaway

Seven companies, including Umbra, Capella Space, and GHGSat, have been awarded a contract to provide NASA with commercial satellite imagery. This contract is part of NASA’s efforts to support commercial firms while expanding its suite of Earth observations to enhance research capabilities.

Recognized Companies

The companies chosen for this contract include Umbra, Capella Space, GHGSat, Maxar’s intelligence division, PlanetIQ, Spire, and Airbus Defence and Space subsidiary Airbus DS GEO. These companies will work with NASA to acquire remote sensing imagery from commercial providers to support Earth science research as part of NASA’s Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program.

“This contract will provide a cost-effective means to complement the suite of Earth observations acquired by NASA and other U.S. government agencies, as well as international partners and agencies,” stated NASA in a press release. “An emphasis will be placed on data acquired by commercial satellite constellations, affording the means of complementing NASA’s Earth observations data with higher resolutions, increased temporal frequency, or other novel capabilities.”

Benefits for Scientists and End Users

NASA initiated this acquisition program in 2017 with the awarding of contracts to Planet, Maxar, and Spire. Scientists will have the opportunity to use the commercial datasets acquired by NASA for their research, as long as they adhere to the companies’ terms and conditions. The agency also requires end user license agreements to facilitate the dissemination of data with its partners.

NASA’s Support for Commercial Technologies

This acquisition program is part of NASA’s broader effort to engage and support commercial firms in developing technologies that can subsequently be purchased as a customer. The Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare program is another example, which enables providers to sell launch services to NASA for its science and technology missions.

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