Geospatial agency ramps up remote sensing

Orbimage Inc. of Dulles, Va., won a four-year, $500 million contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to supply tools for gathering high-resolution images from commercial satellites.

The contract was awarded under the agency's NextView vehicle for research and development services. In September 2003, NGA gave a $530 million contract to DigitalGlobe Inc. of Longmont, Colo.

Both R&D contracts under NextView are to supply next-generation tools for images capture by commercial satellites. Remote-sensing systems gather a wide range of geospatial image data from satellites, ground stations, data links, and command and control facilities.

"The agreement is a key development for both NGA and the commercial remote-sensing industry," said NGA director and retired Air Force Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr. in an agency release. "We need the next generation of commercial satellites to help us do our job, and we look forward to working with both NextView vendors to bring this new capability to fruition."

Under the contract, Orbimage will assure access, priority tasking rights, area coverage and broad licensing terms for sharing imagery with potential NGA mission partners

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