Planet Labs Federal, which is the subsidiary of the Earth observation company named Planet, is recently awarded a deal for the commercial imagery from the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO). At present, the value of this deal is not disclosed by the company. A $5.9-million deal to purchase the past and present Planet imagery for the period of six months was executed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in April 2019. After that contract award, NRO sealed the acquisition process of NGA’s EnhancedView commercial imagery. Contrary to NGA, the value of deals awarded by NRO is generally not disclosed.
Peter Muend, NRO’s Director of Commercial Systems Program Office, proclaimed that NRO is engaged in operating a fleet of its own satellites, comprising “very huge systems, CubeSats, and SmallSats. Increasingly commercial systems are an element of the total solution set.” At the June 2019 GEOINT conference, NRO had disclosed that it has finalized the agreements with Maxar Technologies, Planet, and BlackSky. According to the statement from Muend, these deals were focused on studying “how the commercial imagery providers could fulfill our requirements moving forward, helping EnhancedView to get to the next level. The latest agreement to Planet “is part of that bigger effort and a step toward the upcoming period.” NRO is in process of buying a long-term, unspecified subscription for daily, big-area, 3-5-meter resolution commercial imagery, which is collected by Dove constellation of Planet.
On a similar note, at Planet Explore, which is a conference intended for partners, clients, developers, and data product end-users, Planet official stated that the company’s Dove satellites intended to collect the imagery in eight spectral bands will be updated shortly. Moreover, the company’s diverse current efforts to present 50-centimeter-resolution imagery from its SkySat constellation were highlighted.
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