Weekly GEOINT Community News

Airbus to Develop CO3D Earth Observation Program for CNES; L3Harris Technologies Merger Completed; More from Planet, Maxar, Raytheon


Airbus to Develop CO3D Earth Observation Program for CNES

The French Space Agency (CNES) awarded the CO3D (Constellation Optique 3D) contract to Airbus. Under this agreement, Airbus will deliver a global, high-resolution digital surface model. Following the expected late 2022 launch, the Airbus-made CO3D constellation, comprising four identical satellites, will deliver 50cm resolution stereo imagery across the world on a daily basis. The data acquired will feed a cloud-based processing chain operated by Airbus and integrating CNES algorithms to produce a cutting-edge 3D map of the Earth.

L3Harris Technologies Merger Completed

L3Harris Technologies announced the completion of the all-stock merger between Harris Corporation and L3 Technologies June 29. Headquartered in Melbourne, Fla., L3Harris is now the sixth largest defense company in the U.S. and a top 10 defense company worldwide, with approximately $17 billion in revenue and 50,000 employees.

Planet Integrates Tools with Esri, Signs Deal with Energy Analytics Startup

At the Esri User Conference Monday, Planet CEO Will Marshall announced Planet’s release of the ArcGIS Pro desktop plug-in for Esri. The plug-in, referred to as an “add-in” by Esri, will allow customers to easily access, view, and download Planet Basemaps from within their workflow for deep-level analyses using ArcGIS Pro. The Planet add-in makes it easy to access Planet imagery in ArcGIS Pro, enabling users to add each tile to a mosaic dataset in the Esri database and to publish the mosaic as an Esri Image Service.

In June, Planet announced a commercial agreement to provide European energy analytics startup Kayrros with access to subscription-based Earth observation imagery and data. Through this agreement, Kayrros will use Planet’s data to provide facility monitoring for energy traders to bring more transparency to their markets. The company will also use Planet’s tools to become a reliable provider of bespoke 3D mapping via satellite. 

Maxar Technologies Extends Contract with Esri for Satellite Imagery Mosaics

Maxar Technologies announced it signed a three-year contract to continue providing its Vivid and Metro satellite imagery mosaics to Esri’s ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World. This new contract builds upon Esri and Maxar’s long-term partnership. The Living Atlas of the World is a collection of geographic information from around the world, including maps, apps, and data layers. The World Imagery map of Living Atlas uses Maxar’s Vivid and Metro imagery mosaic products, which include high-resolution, accurate, and visually consistent global image mosaics updated annually. Esri will receive a new version of Vivid that more than doubles the horizontal accuracy of imagery pixels, thus making the vector features extracted by ArcGIS creators even more precise. 

Raytheon Awarded DARPA, USAF Contracts

Raytheon announced the company has secured a contract to build one of the payloads for DARPA’s Blackjack program. Under the contract, the company is working with satellite bus developers to demonstrate its payload architecture. DARPA aims to conduct a design review for the Blackjack payloads and busses by the end of Q3 2019 and to demonstrate satellites in orbit by 2022.

Raytheon has also received a potential $47.7M contract from the U.S. Air Force to conduct a preliminary design review of a next-generation integrated circuit to support the development and testing of GPS receivers for use in future military operations. Work will occur through December 2020 in El Segundo, Calif.

ICEYE Reports Launch of Two SAR Satellites

ICEYE confirmed the simultaneous launch of two new ICEYE SAR satellites. The satellites were launched on a rideshare mission managed by Exolaunch July 5. Communications with both SAR satellites have been established, and the procedure for commissioning both units for commercially available radar imaging has begun. With these units, ICEYE continues to grow its in-orbit capacity that is currently available for both government and commercial SAR data users.

Peer Intel

HawkEye360 announced Robert Cardillo has joined its advisory board. Cardillo is the former Director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and a highly experienced national security professional and geospatial expert. 

Airbus appointed Chris Emerson president of Airbus Defense and Space Inc., a subsidiary of Airbus Americas, effective July 1. Emerson previously served as president of Airbus Helicopters Inc. and head of the North America region. Emerson’s new role moves him from the Airbus Helicopters Inc. headquarters in Grand Prairie, Texas, to the Airbus Defense and Space Inc. headquarters in Herndon, Va. With this leadership change, Airbus Helicopters Inc.’s government and military programs will move to Airbus Defense and Space Inc., reporting to Emerson. The programs and employees transitioning to Airbus Defense and Space Inc. will continue operations in Grand Prairie, Texas. 

Dewberry announced that Mark Safran, CP, GISP; Mike Sutherland; and Al Karlin, Ph.D., CMS-L, GISP, have joined the firm’s geospatial and technology services (GTS) group. Mark Safran is an associate vice president and senior program manager based in Fairfax, Va., and has more than 30 years of experience in program management and business development. Senior Geospatial Analyst Mike Sutherland, based in Denver, Colo., has 10 years of experience and most recently worked for the Cooperative Institute for Research and Environmental Sciences (CIRES) for NOAA at the University of Colorado Boulder. Based in Tampa, Fla., Senior GIS Professional Dr. Alvan Karlin brings more than 20 years of experience in the geospatial and remote sensing industry, where he recently worked as a senior GIS scientist for the Southwest Florida Water Management District. 

Headline Image Courtesy of Airbus

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