Policy and Legislation News
NASA planning to purchase Earth science data from commercial smallsat systems
15 December 2017
NASA expects to purchase Earth science data from constellations of commercial satellites early next year to see how useful they are in meeting the agency's research needs.
NASA issued a request for information (RFI) 5 December seeking details from companies that have such constellations and are interested in selling data to the agency. The deadline for responses is 22 December.
"What we are recognising is that many of you in the private sector have fielded constellations of small satellites for your own business reasons," said Michael Freilich, director of NASA's Earth science division, in a 12 December town hall discussion about the data purchase effort at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union here.
Those systems, he said, may also be collecting data of interest to NASA. "The question that we're asking in NASA is what value do the data products that come from your small satellite constellations have to the government to advance our research, science and applications interests."
Image credit: Planet - A portion of Venetian Lagoon's Lido Inlet as seen by one of the RapidEye satellites operated by Planet. NASA is seeking to purchase imagery and other data from such smallsat constellations in a pilot program to evaluate their usefulness in research projects.