NRO awards five SCE contracts to assess and leverage electro-optical capabilities

By Apurva Minchekar / December 5, 2023 at 12:38 PM

The National Reconnaissance Office has awarded five Strategic Commercial Enhancements contracts to evaluate and enhance commercial electro-optical capabilities, according to an announcement today.

The five companies -- Airbus U.S.; Space and Defense; Albedo Space; Hydrosat; Muon Space; and Turion Space -- received awards under NRO SCE’s Broad Agency Announcement Framework.

“These SCC BAA commercial EO capabilities contracts are smaller in scope, are designed to assess emerging providers and capabilities and intended to leverage those capabilities to meet mission needs,” NRO said in the announcement.

The intelligence agency noted assessments are accomplished through a “two-stage effort.”

The first stage focuses on analytic studies to provide valuations of system capabilities at the individual sensor and constellation level, along with “business and cybersecurity planning.”

At the same time, the second stage focuses on evaluating on-orbit capabilities and buying data products.

Additionally, in May 2022, NRO awarded the EO commercial layer contract to BlackSky, Maxar and Planet Lab, which is considered the largest commercial imagery contract to be awarded by the intelligence agency.

The EOCL is an operational subscription-type contract aligning the requirements of the Intelligence Community and the Defense Department, NRO said.

Previously, NRO also awarded six SCE contracts for commercial hyperspectral imaging in March, six commercial radio frequency remote sensing contracts in September 2022 and five commercial radar contracts in January 2022.

“Combined with EOCL and our previous SCE radar, radio frequency and hyperspectral imaging contracts, these contracts continue NRO’S historic expansion of the acquisition of commercial data,” Pete Muend, NRO’s commercial systems program office director, said in the announcement.