ICEYE US announces NASA order for SAR data under commercial program

Aug. 11, 2023
ICEYE US Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite imagery provides novel data source for NASA Earth science research.

IRVINE, Calif., - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) sought a provider of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) data for evaluation by scientific and academic communities to determine suitability for advancing the agency's Earth science research objectives. They found their solution from ICEYE US in Irvine, California.

ICEYE announced that the company has received its first Task Order under a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) with NASA announced earlier this year.

The agreement between ICEYE US and NASA represents a significant milestone for commercial SAR in the United States. It is the first example of NASA gaining access to data from a radar imaging constellation, including an archive of tens of thousands of ICEYE images. Such access offers the distinct benefit of supporting advanced time series analysis of Earth's surface - measurements that have not been previously available to the NASA community. ICEYE SAR data is being provided with broad licensing authority to maximize the collaborative utility for research. ICEYE SAR data joins other types of satellite data from commercial remote sensing systems that have proven critical and complementary to NASA's capabilities.

SAR offers a distinct advantage over traditional electro-optical (EO) imagery. While EO imaging requires a light source to illuminate locations - much like a camera does - SAR uses electromagnetic waves to construct images. This means SAR satellites can detect what is happening on land or sea, day or night, in any weather, without being obscured by cloud cover, dust or smoke.

"NASA is excited to evaluate ICEYE data in the context of our Earth Science Research, Analysis, and Applications portfolios," said Will McCarty, NASA CSDA Program Scientist. "With the advent of SAR from commercial sources like ICEYE, we are interested in how these small satellite constellations can complement existing NASA datasets and capabilities. Ultimately, we aim to utilize these data to provide new perspectives to the science priorities of the Earth Science Division."

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