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NASA Plans Earth Science Data Acquisition From Small Satellite Operators

NASA looks to procure imaging and radio occultation data from commercial small satellite companies to help address the space agency’s Earth science research goals, Space News reported Wednesday.

Jeff Foust writes NASA’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 includes $30 million for satellite development and data acquisition efforts under the Small Satellite Constellations Initiative.

The report said the agency conducted a study on the feasibility of a pilot data purchase program and issued a request for information in July to assess interest from potential vendors as well as discover the types of data available in the market.

Christina Moats-Xavier, deputy program director of NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program committee, said the agency found that the commercial vendor pool can offer data relevant to NASA’s Earth science research mission.

The RFI notice highlighted Global Positioning System radio occultations and medium-resolution multi-spectral images as two data classes of interest for NASA and indicated that the agency would also consider other data types, according to the report.

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