NRO Selects 5 Companies for Commercial Radar Development Contracts; Chris Scolese Quoted

The National Reconnaissance Office has awarded contracts to Airbus’ U.S. arm, Capella Space, ICEYE, Umbra and PredaSAR to develop commercial radar systems.

NRO said Thursday it issued a broad agency announcement framework for strategic commercial enhancements in October 2021 with commercial radar as the first focus area.

The agency’s Strategic Commercial Enhancements BAA Framework seeks to advance innovation and provide the U.S. government access to commercial remote sensing technologies.

“We know that users across the National System for Geospatial Intelligence are eager to explore commercial radar, and these contracts will allow us to rapidly validate capabilities and the benefits to the national mission,” said Chris Scolese, director of NRO and a 2022 Wash100 Award winner.

The companies will demonstrate synthetic aperture radar satellite imagery capabilities. The NRO BAA award includes modeling and simulation work for six months and demonstration of on-orbit and end-to-end mission performance for a period of two years.

Pete Muend, director of the NRO’s commercial systems program office, said awarding the contracts in three months reflects the agency’s commitment to adopting a more Agile acquisition process for commercial technologies.

NRO expects to announce the next BAA focus area later this year.

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