WASHINGTON — The White House announced a new initiative Oct. 21 to promote the development of small satellites, collecting under one roof a number of efforts, some of which started months ago.
The “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative, announced in a White House Office of Science and Technology Policy statement, highlights several ongoing efforts by NASA, the Pentagon and other federal government agencies to help develop smallsats or make use of images or other data they provide.
Some elements of the initiative were announced weeks or months ago. The OSTP announcement highlighted a $20 million award the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency made to Planet, the San Francisco-based company developing a constellation of Earth imaging satellites. “The imagery has many operational uses, including environmental monitoring, augmenting higher resolution capabilities, change detection, and answering intelligence questions,” the announcement stated.
However, NGA awarded that contract to Planet, formerly known as Planet Labs, on Sept. 12, according to the business opportunities section of the NGA website. The seven-month contract gives the NGA access to Planet’s global imagery archive, updated every 15 days.
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