Three companies win a 10-year contract with the US Intelligence Agency

Private satellite operators BlackSky, Maxar and Planet have signed a contract with the National Directorate of Military Space Intelligence of the United States. Within 10 years, they will supply information from their observation satellites.

BlackSky, Maxar and Planet will provide intelligence with their images. Source: Maxar Technologies

New contract of BlackSky, Maxar and Planet

On May 25, the National Directorate of Military Space Intelligence of the United States (National Reconnaissance Office, NRO) announced that it would offer three private satellite operators a 10-year contract. The companies BlackSky, Maxar and Planet will supply electro-optical information from their satellites to all special services of the United States.

The contract has already been called the most expensive  agreement between intelligence services and business. It is known that its amount for Maxar is 3.2 billion dollars, of which 1.5 billion is the base contract, which will last 5 years. The rest of the money will be paid if the intelligence service decides to use the company’s services for the entire period.

In the case of BlackSky, the total amount of the contract is USD 1 billion. How much Planet Labs will earn remains unknown. However, it is already known that the contract with this company provides access to all satellite images since 2009. 

New prices and New requirements

The new agreement is not the first that the NRO enters into with commercial companies. In 2010, they already had a contract with EnhancedView. However, its amount was only USD 300 million. Since then, satellite data has become the main element of national security in most countries.

But the requirements for electro-optical data have also increased. For example, it is known that the contract with Maxar includes not only those pictures that became a hit this spring. They will also have access to everything the six new Legion satellites can see. Their launch will take place only in the autumn of this year.

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