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NRO Seeking Space-Based Radar Data From Commercial Providers

SAR data acquisition

NRO Seeking Space-Based Radar Data From Commercial Providers

The National Reconnaissance Office has issued a broad agency announcement in its bid to purchase commercial synthetic aperture radar datasets.

According to NRO Director Christopher Scolese, the BAA will offer a flexible acquisition process that would allow the agency to evaluate, leverage and integrate new and emerging phenomenologies like radar, hyperspectral and radio frequency sensing capabilities.

Scolese, who delivered a keynote speech at the 2021 GEOINT Symposium, said initial procurements will focus on commercial synthetic aperture radar datasets, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

NRO’s interest in working with industry comes amid what Scolese described as “an explosion of innovation on the commercial side.”

The agency first experimented with utilizing commercial data for national security purposes under a 2019 contract with SAR imagery provider Capella Space. The pursuit for commercial space-based datasets continued with the release of a request for information in November 2020.

Peter Muend, director of the NRO Commercial Systems Program Office, offered reporters more details about the agency’s imminent plans for SAR.

The BAA, Muend said, is targeted at existing companies and those with the potential to provide synthetic-aperture radar datasets. The plan is to determine how their SAR capabilities might fit into a hybrid architecture of commercial and government satellites.

Muend noted that NRO may provide direct funding to promising companies, after which their datasets will be subject to formal quality evaluations to understand how they can be integrated into government architectures.

The process is expected to lead to a commercial data program of record.

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Category: Space

Tags: broad agency announcement Christopher Scolese commercial providers National Reconnaissance Office NRO Peter Muend space space radar imagery SpaceNews