Weekly GEOINT Community News

Amazon Web Services Announces Ground Station; DHS S&T Launches GPS Program; MDA to Design Systems for Mars Rover Mission; More


Amazon Web Services Announces Ground Station

Amazon Web Services announced AWS Ground Station, a service for downloading satellite data into AWS Global Infrastructure Regions. Customers will receive data at one of 12 ground antennas around the world, and will be able to process, store, analyze, and apply machine learning to that data using other Amazon services. Initial customers DigitalGlobe, BlackSky, Spire, Capella Space, Open Cosmos, and HawkEye 360 will have on-demand access to the antennas.

GeoNorth, Lockheed & University of Alaska Fairbanks to Collect Arctic Surveillance for NGA

The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) awarded GeoNorth Information Systems (GNIS) a five-year, $15 million contract for persistent surveillance of the Arctic region. Lockheed Martin will provide Rosetta, its scalable geospatial processing platform, to enable the surveillance project. The University of Alaska Fairbanks will contribute Arctic-related research and the ability to refine scientific algorithms to support project requirements. The cooperative will build, monitor, and maintain terrain elevation models of the Arctic region.

DHS S&T Launches GPS Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate dedicated a multi‑year program to address vulnerabilities in critical GPS infrastructure. GPS signals are often low-power and unencrypted, making them easily susceptible to disruption. The program will focus on assessing vulnerabilities, developing security systems, exploring complimentary positioning, navigation, and timing technologies, and engaging with industry through events such as the annual GPS Equipment Testing for Critical Infrastructure function.

HawkEye Launches First Three Satellites

HawkEye 360 announced the launch of its first three formation-flying small satellites. The “Pathfinder” mission will deliver a unique source of radio frequency (RF) data used for analytics. Once maneuvered into position, the satellites will triangulate a broad set of RF signals to locate emitters including push-to-talk radios, maritime radar systems, AIS beacons, VSAT terminals, emergency beacons, and more. HawkEye’s next set of satellites is under development for launch in 2019.

MDA to Design Systems for Mars Rover Mission

Maxar’s MDA was selected by Airbus to design a concept for a mobile rover to explore Mars and acquire samples that will be returned to Earth. The Sample Fetch Rover will be part of the concepts the European Space Agency is exploring with NASA for an international Mars Sample Return campaign in the next decade. Three launches are planned for the campaign, the first of which will launch in 2020 to store a set of ground samples in canisters on Mars’ surface. The second launch will send the Sample Fetch Rover to a Mars platform where it can retrieve the stored samples for launch back to Earth.

Ball Aerospace to Develop Data Processing Prototype for Air Force

Ball Aerospace was selected to build an open-source data processing prototype for the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The Mission Data Processing Application Framework prototype will enable overhead persistent infrared processing for the Air Force’s Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution program. Ball will use a secure DevOps approach to provide maximum deployment flexibility.

Harris Launches First Small Satellite

Harris Corporation launched last week its first Harris Satellite (HSAT), a briefcase-sized cubesat for high-speed communications. HSAT can be affordably launched as a rideshare on commercial rockets, and its architecture can be reconfigured or patched in space. The launch demonstrates Harris’ ability to provide end-to-end satellite services from design to construction to operation.

Vencore Awarded FBI Contract

Perspecta-owned Vencore was awarded a potential five-year, $300 million blanket purchase agreement for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Solutions for Intelligence Analysis Services contract. Vencore will compete for call orders to perform a range of analysis, advisory, and assistance services for the Bureau.

Peer Intel

John McNiff joined ManTech International’s mission, cyber and intelligence solutions group as senior vice president for business development. McNiff, a 16-year Northrop Grumman veteran, will oversee ManTech’s growth efforts across the intelligence market.

Photo Credit: European Space Agency

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