NGA, ICEYE form CRADA to explore use of commercial SAR data

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has signed a five-year cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with ICEYE, a commercial imagery provider of persistent synthetic aperture radar data, NGA announced October 13.

NGA and ICEYE will conduct experiments to explore commercial synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite imaging modes and provide new technology for missions such as safety of navigation, international security, climate security and protection of natural resources. NGA’s research interests lie in remote sensing of polar regions and sensing natural hazards worldwide.

ICEYE, NGA and other Department of Defense stakeholders will complete five research tasks through a variety of overhead remote sensing experiments. The collaborative research will include subsidence time-series mapping, automated monitoring, coherent change detection and bathymetric retrieval to produce new information for iceberg detection and tracking, mapping of complex environmental conditions such as deforestation or permafrost thaw and border security.

This CRADA will allow NGA to access a large constellation of commercial satellites, enabling R&D collaboration and dynamic SAR tasking for persistent monitoring to support critical NGA missions, according to NGA Research Director Cindy Daniell, Ph.D., who recently visited ICEYE’s North American headquarters to meet the team and see the facility and operations firsthand.

“Government and industry need a regular dialogue to understand one another’s objectives, processes and challenges, so we can address top national security threats together,” said Daniell. “This agreement lets us do exactly that—it helps us understand how commercial SAR data can support geospatial intelligence, and simultaneously, increases ICEYE’s awareness of our most pressing challenges.”

Through its Research component, NGA manages more than 70 active CRADAs, which are low-risk, flexible agreements that allow NGA to work with commercial industry, universities and other non-federal entities on joint research and development projects for national security. CRADAs enable federal laboratories like NGA to collaborate with non-federal entities by providing personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property and other resources, but not funding. In turn, the non-federal entities may provide funds, personnel, services, facilities, equipment, intellectual property and other resources.

Source: NGA

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