Commerce Department Pushes for Commercial Space Office; NGA Announces Contractors for Janus Geography Initiative; Parsons Acquires Polaris Alpha; TerraGo Launches R3 Data App; More
Commerce Department Pushes for Commercial Space Office
Following President Trump’s signing of Space Policy Directive-2 aiming to reform commercial space operations, the Department of Commerce has proposed a plan to form a new office solely focused on improving regulations and standards in the commercial space industry. The proposed office would be called the Space Policy Advancing Commercial Enterprise (SPACE) Administration, and would absorb the Department’s existing Office of Space Commerce as well as the Commercial Remote Sensing Regulatory Affairs Office. The SPACE Administration would operate under the direction of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.
NGA Announces Contractors for Janus Geography Initiative
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) selected 10 companies for its Janus Geography initiative, a 10-year, $920 million contract to manage topographic and geographic data for NGA partners throughout the GEOINT community. The contractors are: Altamira Technologies, BAE Systems, Boeing, CACI, Centra Technology, Harris, Hexagon US Federal, Leidos, MDA Information Systems, and Vencore.
Parsons Acquires Polaris Alpha
Parsons Corp. announced last week the acquisition of IT firm Polaris Alpha to support its space and cybersecurity services. Terms of the acquisition have not yet been released. Polaris Alpha will fold into Parsons’ federal services unit, adding more than 1,300 employees to the company.
TerraGo Launches R3 Data App
TerraGo debuted a new data collection and collaboration app called R3, available for download via NGA’s GEOINT app store. R3 is designed for response, recovery, and other reconnaissance missions, and enables users to access custom base maps from numerous sources as well as to capture and share location-tagged data such as photos, videos, and audio files.
Boundless Introduces Offline Tile Server
Boundless launched Boundless Offline Tile Server—a portable base map server that offers web mapping capabilities for users in disconnected environments. Intelligence and first responder communities will benefit from pre-processed tiles optimized for speed, quick setup and maintenance, worldwide coverage in OpenStreetMap, and OGC-compliant packages.
Airbus Celebrates 10,000 Connections for SpaceDataHighway
Airbus announced its SpaceDataHighway service—a network of lasers designed to relay disparate satellite data to a ground station in near-real time—has achieved 10,000 connections with a reliability rate of 99.8 percent. Since its launch in November 2016, SpaceDataHighway has downloaded more than 500 terabytes of data. The service currently operates entirely through one satellite, ERDS-A, but Airbus plans to launch a second satellite, ERDS-C, in 2019, doubling SpaceDataHighway’s capacity and extending its global coverage.
Iridium Launches Five Iridium NEXT Satellites
Iridium Communications announced the launch of five Iridium NEXT satellites, facilitated by SpaceX at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Shortly after launch, Iridium confirmed a communications link with the satellites, bringing the NEXT constellation to a total of 55 operational systems. Two more launches of 10 satellites each will complete the program and enable the debut of Iridium’s upcoming Certus broadband service, the AireonSM global aircraft tracking system, and more.
ICEYE Announces Results of Series B Funding Round
ICEYE raised $34 million in a Series B funding round from investors including True Ventures, Draper Nexus, Space Angels, and more. To date, the SAR microsatellite startup has reportedly raised $53 million, along with support from the European Union. After launching its first satellite in January, the company will use this new capital to further develop its SAR technology and launch operations.
The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is seeking a new chief technology officer to oversee the agency’s information management and technology development strategies. The chosen candidate will replace James Harris, who transitioned to the role of DIA mission strategist in April. DIA is accepting applications for CTO through June 3.
Barry West, deputy chief information officer for the Department of Homeland Security and a former IT official at multiple agencies, announced his retirement effective May 31. DHS has not yet chosen a candidate to fill his position.
Photo Credit: Airbus