SAN FRANCISCO – The National Reconnaissance Office announced the award Oct. 15 of a commercial imagery contract of undisclosed value to Planet Labs Federal, a subsidiary of Planet, the Earth observation company with about 150 imaging satellites in orbit.
In April, the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency exercised a $5.9 million option to buy current and archival Planet imagery for six months. Since that contract award, NRO has completed its takeover of NGA’s EnhancedView commercial imagery acquisition contract. Unlike NGA, NRO does not reveal the value of contracts it awards.
NRO operates a fleet of its own satellites including “very large systems to smallsats and cubesats as well,” said Peter Muend, director of NRO’s Commercial Systems Program Office. “Increasingly commercial systems are part of the overall solution set.”
At the 2019 GEOINT conference in June, NRO announced the award of study contracts to BlackSky, Maxar Technologies and Planet to evaluate “how the commercial imagery providers could satisfy our needs moving forward, certainly inclusive of but also beyond where EnhancedView is today,” Muend told SpaceNews at Planet Explore, an Oct. 15 conference here for Planet’s customers, partners and data product end users.
The new contract to Planet “is part of that larger ...