Capella Space, an information services company that provides on-demand sub 0.5m very high resolution Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth observation imagery, has been awarded a contract with the U.S. Air Force to apply SAR data to the military branch’s virtual reality software for the purpose of simulating potential adversary scenarios, support missile defense and create predictive intelligence that foresee foreign threats. Capella will also supply an in-house analytics service to deliver change detection and object identification, providing rapid and automatic insights from satellite data.
“The U.S. Air Force is always working to maintain our leadership as a global technology innovator, and this contract is a testament to that commitment,” said Lt. Gen. John “J.T.” Thompson, the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center commander.
Capella’s satellites collect imagery in all weather and lighting conditions and capture amplitude and phase history. This enables the extraction of valuable information such as material properties, moisture content, elevation and precise changes and movements, which are not available with optical imagery. Persistent SAR provides a reliable capability to improve situational awareness to protect U.S. forces and serve broad commercial applications.
With the launch of its 36 small satellite constellation, Capella will rapidly deliver on-demand SAR imagery of anywhere on Earth on a high cadence to create a new space imaging tool for commerce, conservation and security. Capella is scheduled to launch its first operational satellite in Q1 2020 and will deliver 0.5m very high resolution SAR data to the U.S. Air Force, as well as several additional international government and commercial customers.
“Capella will work alongside the U.S. Air Force to foster collaboration and deliver a product that best suits their mission needs,” said Capella Space Vice President of Government Services Dan Brophy. “Timely SAR data that presents changes on Earth holds tremendous military value, and we will make adaptations to meet unique military requirements. Together with the Air Force, we will define the applications for this data in its hybrid, military and commercial space architecture.”
This contract was awarded as part of Air Force Space Pitch Day, which was created to leverage commercial innovations to drive the rapid development of small business ecosystems that have dual-use, cutting-edge technologies to enable the fielding of fast, relevant and affordable solutions that support the Air Force. Held in San Francisco on Nov. 5-6, the event was attended by Lt. Gen. Thompson, the Honorable Barbara Barrett, secretary of the Air Force and Dr. Will Roper, assistant secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics. Guest speakers included innovation entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Vinod Khosla.
Only companies that already possess a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase I award were invited to pitch as part of the Phase II award process. After Phase II is complete, Capella will have the opportunity to pursue a sole source, unlimited value, Phase III operational contract.