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NRO Expected to Bare Electro-Optical Commercial Layer Program Procurement Details

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NRO Expected to Bare Electro-Optical Commercial Layer Program Procurement Details

The National Reconnaissance Office is expected to announce the details of its Electro-Optical Commercial Layer program to potential contractors in the U.S. satellite imagery industry. The agency’s anticipated move will mark the beginning of an open competition for satellite imagery products, SpaceNews reported Tuesday.

Under the planned procurement, the NRO will buy products from multiple vendors and move beyond the current single-supplier arrangement that the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency signed more than a decade ago with the precursor of Maxar Technologies. In 2017, the NGA turned over responsibilities for commercial imagery procurement to the NRO.

SpaceNews said the NRO is expected to select at least three U.S. suppliers and structure the program with onramps for new providers. The agency is also expected to require vendors to sign “end user license agreements” so imagery can be shared across government agencies without additional fees.

In June, the NRO issued a draft solicitation for the EOCL procurement. A final request for proposals is being reviewed by the Department of Defense and the U.S. intelligence community, and should be released before the end of the year, an NRO spokesman told SpaceNews.

Meanwhile, NRO Director Christopher Scolese told participants of the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado that the agency has reconfigured its next-generation commercial contracts to include pricing that incentivizes innovation and rewards the development of new capabilities. He said that since imagery can already be purchased as a commercial service, NRO personnel have been freed up to focus on “the difficult tasks.”

The NRO is the U.S. intelligence agency responsible for developing, launching and operating the nation’s spy satellites. It is also the primary acquirer of commercial imagery for the federal government.

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Category: Space