Christopher Scolese: NRO Looks to Deploy Smallsats, AI-Driven Ground Systems

Christopher Scolese
Christopher Scolese

Christopher Scolese, director of the National Reconnaissance Office, has said the agency is prioritizing satellite and ground system modernization as well as efforts to accelerate on-board data processing, Space News reported Tuesday.

Scolese told reporters ahead of an Intelligence and National Security Alliance event that the NRO also seeks to leverage small satellites and launch vehicles, in addition to new technologies such as artificial intelligence and cloud computing to update ground systems.

“Clearly we’re going to need a diverse architecture,” he said. “We’re very much looking at proliferated architectures to increase revisit time, to reduce latency and provide resiliency and fast refresh when you need it.” 

According to Scolese, China is “putting spacecraft up very quickly” and the U.S. needs to retain its status as a world leader despite current challenges.

Scolese officially took charge of the NRO in August following his joint confirmation hearing with Gen. John Raymond, commander of the U.S. Space Command, in June.

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