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ICEYE US receives first NASA commercial smallsat data task order
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ICEYE US receives first NASA commercial smallsat data task order
by Brad Bartz
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Aug 11, 2023

ICEYE US Inc, renowned for its persistent Earth monitoring through radar imaging satellites, has secured its inaugural Task Order as a part of a previously announced Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with NASA. This accord grants NASA the capacity to procure and assess ICEYE's synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data. This evaluation is intended to serve the scientific and academic spheres, assisting them in determining the data's potential in advancing the Earth Science research objectives of NASA. The financial backing for the BPA is provided by the Earth Science Division within the Science Mission Directorate.

The Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition (CSDA) Program of NASA, initiated in 2020, has a clear agenda: to pinpoint, assess, and then acquire data from commercial entities that are in tandem with the goals of NASA's Earth Science Division.

Expressing NASA's enthusiasm, Will McCarty, NASA CSDA Program Scientist, stated, "NASA is excited to evaluate ICEYE data in the context of our Earth Science Research, Analysis, and Applications portfolios. The emergence of SAR data from commercial avenues like ICEYE has piqued our interest. We are keen to discern how these compact satellite constellations can enhance and go hand in hand with the existing datasets and proficiencies of NASA. Our primary objective is to harness these data sets to offer fresh insights into the scientific priorities of the Earth Science Division."

This newfound collaboration between ICEYE US and NASA is a pivotal moment for the commercial SAR sphere in the United States. Notably, this represents NASA's maiden venture into accessing data from a radar imaging constellation. This access spans an extensive archive encompassing tens of thousands of ICEYE images. The distinctive advantage here is the facilitation of sophisticated time series analysis of the Earth's surface, a luxury previously elusive to the NASA community. To further augment its research applications, ICEYE's SAR data comes with a comprehensive licensing authority. This SAR data is in alignment with other satellite data variants derived from commercial remote sensing systems, both of which supplement NASA's capabilities.

Eric Jensen, the CEO of ICEYE US, voiced the company's sentiment, saying, "We are privileged to support NASA's Earth Science goals with our radar satellite imagery through this first Task Order. The data from ICEYE sensors is a continuous wellspring of knowledge, catering to pivotal research domains like geology, topography, and climate change. The CSDA program manifests NASA's strategy of tapping into the private sector's prowess for the broader public good, particularly amplifying society's resilience by enriching our grasp on Earth's evolutionary trajectory."

Based in Irvine, California, ICEYE US supervises its satellite operations from its Missions Operations Center. The company takes pride in its ownership and management of a SAR satellite constellation. Each satellite in this constellation, tipping the scales at approximately 220 pounds, furnishes relentless surveillance of any global location in near-real time.

One of the highlights of SAR is its distinct edge over the conventional electro-optical (EO) imagery. Unlike EO imaging, which leans on a light source for location illumination analogous to cameras, SAR harnesses electromagnetic waves to forge images. This endows SAR satellites with the capability to capture events transpiring on land or sea, irrespective of the time of day, atmospheric conditions, or obstructions like clouds, dust, or smoke.

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