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UrtheCast and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Form R&D Partnership

[Via Satellite 04-04-2016] UrtheCast has formed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to boost the operational effectiveness of the company’s upcoming OptiSAR constellation. The agreement enables the two organizations to collaborate on Research and Development (R&D) related to the primary areas of multi-source fusion, improving/ensuring metric accuracy, and optimizing collection and dissemination strategies.

UrtheCast is preparing a commercial constellation of multispectral optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth Observation (EO) satellites, which is now known as OptiSAR. The company plans 16 satellites — eight optical and eight SAR — flying in two orbital planes, with each plane consisting of four satellite pairs, equally-spaced around the orbital plane. Each pair of satellites will consist of a dual-mode, high-resolution optical satellite (video and pushbroom) and a dual-band high-resolution SAR satellite (X-band and L-band), flying in tandem.

This CRADA will allow UrtheCast to work closely with an experienced user and make early changes to its systems architecture, if deemed appropriate. The specific R&D under these areas will support UrtheCast’s government and commercial customer base. The company expects to deploy the OptiSAR constellation over multiple launches and to begin operations in 2020.