NASA is once again taking advantage from the realm of commercial partnerships to bolster its Earth science research endeavors.
In an announcement on October 2nd, the Space Agency unveiled its selection of seven companies to award the Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program (CSDA).
This initiative marks a significant step forward in NASA’s ongoing quest to harness the capabilities of small satellites operated by commercial entities, a move that promises to enhance the agency’s Earth observation efforts.
About the CSDA Program
The Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program is poised to acquire Earth Observation data and related services from commercial sources for NASA.
Under this initiative, a fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple-award contract will be in effect for a period of five years, with an option to extend services an additional six months. The cumulative value of this venture stands at $476 million, which will be distributed among all the selected contractors.
The seven companies chosen to collaborate with the Acency on this endeavor are as follows:
- Airbus DS Geo, Inc. of Herndon, Virginia
- Capella Space Corp. of San Francisco
- GHGSat, Inc. of Montreal
- Maxar Intelligence, Inc. of Westminster, Colorado
- Space Sciences and Engineering (dba PlanetiQ) of Golden, Colorado
- Spire Global Subsidiary, Inc. of Vienna, Virginia
- Umbra Lab, Inc., of Santa Barbara, California
The objective of this contract is to establish a flexible framework that enables NASA to procure valuable data from commercial sources, thereby advancing the agency’s Earth science research and application activities.
Of particular note is the emphasis on data acquired by commercial satellite constellations. These constellations hold the potential to complement NASA’s existing Earth observations data by offering higher resolutions, increased temporal frequency, and other novel capabilities.
Advantages and Agreements
One of the key advantages of this contract is its cost-effectiveness.
By collaborating with these commercial entities, the state Agency can diversify its suite of Earth observations without incurring exorbitant expenses. This collaborative approach aligns with NASA’s commitment to enhancing its Earth science research in cooperation with both U.S. government agencies and international partners.
To ensure that the commercial data acquired through this program is widely accessible, NASA will require end-user license agreements. These agreements are designed to facilitate the dissemination and shareability of the data among government agencies, partners, and other stakeholders.
The inclusion of government-defined license tiers further reinforces the commitment to scientific non-commercial use of the data.