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White House’s Science and Technology Office Launches Small Satellite Initiative

satelliteThe White House’s Office of Science and Technology has introduced a new initiative intended to support the use of small satellites in the government and private sectors for many types of mission requirements.

The White House said Friday OSTP intends for the Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution initiative to collaborate with NASA, Defense Department, Commerce Department and other federal agencies to identify additional steps to develop smallsat technologies.

The goal is to apply small satellites to remote sensing, communications, science and space exploration projects.

NASA will invest up to $25 million to purchase data from non-governmental small spacecraft constellations and $5 million to mature small spacecraft constellation technologies.

The space agency also plans to open a Small Spacecraft Virtual Institute at Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley in 2017 to provide technical knowledge in small spacecraft technology fields.

For its part, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency awarded a $20 million contract to startup firm Planet to develop a constellation of imagery smallsats in low earth orbit in an effort to acquire imagery of at least 85 percent of the Earth’s landmass.

The Commerce Department has also mandated the director of the Office of Space Commerce to serve as ombudsman for the commercial space industry within the federal government.

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has also released satellite data sets to help analyze overhead imagery as part of the Multi-View Stereo 3D Mapping Challenge under the initiative.

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