Analysts speculate that the National Reconnaissance Office plans to invest in commercial satellite imagery contracts in the coming decade to take advantage of the competition in the market.
A study by Quilty Analytics approximates the NRO’s annual expenditure to grow from $50 million to $100 million, especially on commercial imagery. All these funds will be stacking up in the Maxar account since it is the sole contractor for commercial imagery under the name EnhancedView. This contract, in addition to other deals with other firms, might bring NRO’s expenditure to about $400 million annually.
The NRO is deeply venturing commercial imagery to facilitate its operations with various stakeholders. For instance, NRO will be gathering imagery with its satellites and top it all with those from other firms. This move is to make the firm a pioneer in delivering intel to security task forces like the US military and other critical agencies.
NRO’s Commercial Systems Program Office director Peter Muend says that they will be planning more commercial imagery deals. He outlines that they are ordering more commercial imagery to boost their efficiency in serving their customers.
Muend explained that they are looking out for a future where they can depend on commercial imagery providers before they attain their admirable potential.
Quilty Analytics’ Justin Cadman speculates that Maxar will be a significant dealer for the NRO in addition to upcoming competitors like BlackSky and Planet, thereby making these firms gain an advantageous market share. He retorts that Maxar and the two firms expand courtesy of the contracts with the NRO since they will be receiving a considerable sum of money for providing commercial imagery services.
Additionally, the expansion of these firms is pegged on the rising need for satellite imagery by security agencies and task forces. The discontinuation of the US from the Treaty on Open Skies and other worldwide crises will develop commercial imagery demand.
Maxar’s contract with the NRO heads to 2023. NRO also intends to contract with BlackSky and Planet before 2022. NRO will be developing a new deal once the EnhancedView has completed the commercial imagery vehicle. These contracts will give NRO experience to delve into high-level technology of imaging satellites finally. The agency will also oversee the unexplored areas of satellite imagery.
Finally, the WorldView Legion constellation by Maxar is going to capture funds from the NRO. Maxar will be able to expand its operations in other fields once the firm gets sustainable funding.