Iceye and U.S. Army forge collaborative research pact

SAN FRANCISCO – Iceye U.S., a subsidiary of the Finnish synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite operator, announced a cooperative research and development agreement with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (SMDTC).

Under the agreement, Iceye and SMDTC will work together to explore ways the Army can benefit from access to SAR imagery and data. The parties will jointly investigate many topics including SAR satellite tasking, SAR data downlink, image processing and image dissemination to meet various Army and Defense Department requirements.

“The U.S Army is looking for affordable and versatile SAR and other advanced sensor technology to enhance its many systems and missions,” Col. Matt Anderson, SMDC’s Space Directorate leader, said in a statement. “High-quality, frequent-revisit commercial SAR is particularly important to us because it enables day-night, all-weather imaging and complements national satellite systems.”

Iceye operates the largest fleet of commercial SAR satellites, having launched 14 satellites to date. The company plans to add at least 10 satellites to its constellation in 2022.

“We look forward to working closely with SMDTC as we bring Iceye’s first-of-its-kind capability to a variety of U.S. Army experiments and demonstrations,” said Eric Jensen, Iceye U.S. president, said in a statement.

For example, the Army is eager to access SAR data with the Army’s current Common Ground Terminal and future mobile ground stations being developed through the Army’s Tactical Intelligence Targeting Access Node program, according to a Nov. 18 news release.

U.S. government agencies, including the National Reconnaissance Office and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, are becoming increasingly enthusiastic about potential applications for SAR satellites, which capture imagery through clouds and darkness.

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