NRO awards fourth commercial imagery study contract

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) announced on September 23 the award of a commercial imagery study contract to HySpecIQ. This award is the NRO’s first such award to a commercial hyperspectral imaging company and represents the latest milestone in the agency’s commercial imagery acquisition and integration strategy.

“HySpecIQ is developing interesting new hyperspectral imaging capabilities that have the potential to contribute to our current and future overhead architecture,” said Pete Muend, director of the NRO Commercial Systems Program Office. Muend added that the NRO plans to take full advantage of diverse phenomenologies available in the commercial market, such as hyperspectral imaging, to continue building a responsive, robust and affordable GEOINT architecture.

Hyperspectral images are made up of light from hundreds of colors across the electromagnetic spectrum. Since hyperspectral imaging collects many different colors of light, any given object will have a unique signature. This enables users to obtain information about each pixel in an image, with the goal of identifying objects and materials.

This study contract joins three additional commercial imagery studies announced by the NRO in June of this year to BlackSky Global, Maxar Technologies and Planet.

The NRO will use these and future study contracts to assess the performance capabilities of domestic commercial satellite imagery providers and validate their ability to satisfy U.S. government requirements into the 2023 timeframe. The results will help inform the next generation of NRO’s commercial imagery procurements, expected to commence in late 2020.

Source: NRO