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NRO Plans Commercial Radar Imagery Procurement

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A National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) official said the agency is looking to award multiple contracts to access commercial imagery from synthetic aperture radar satellites to study how space data products could support the intelligence community mission, SpaceNews reported Monday.

Pete Muend, director of NRO’s commercial systems program office, told the publication the agency began the sourcing process after its market survey in November drew many responses from the private sector.

NRO awarded a series of study contracts during 2019 to Maxar Technologies, BlackSky Global, Planet, HySpecIQ, Capella Space and HawkEye 360.

The awards sought to determine the sector's capacity to help the agency expand its enterprise geospatial intelligence architecture with commercial imagery offerings and inform future procurement efforts.

Muend noted that his office is working with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to define a set of requirements and develop a new licensing model for commercial imagery acquisition.

Maxar will continue to provide NRO data from the company's fleet of Earth observation satellites through August 2023 under the EnhancedView Follow-On agreement awarded in 2018 and valued at $300 million each year.