NASA Adds Airbus to Commercial Satellite Data Program

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has decided to add Airbus Defence and Space GEO Inc. to its growing list of companies from which the space agency will purchase commercial optical and radar satellite imagery.

NASA published a public notice earlier this month that it plans to acquire Airbus imagery as part of its Commercial Smallsat Data Acquisition Program (CSDAP). The commercial imagery complements data collected by NASA’s satellites.

Airbus is the fifth company to be added to CSDAP after Maxar Technologies, Planet, Spire Global and Teledyne Brown Engineering.

“NASA intends to acquire imagery data with high spectral and high spatial resolutions, increased temporal frequency or other novel capabilities in support of existing Earth science research and application activities,” the notice stated.

“Airbus operates a constellation of 11 optical satellites: Pléiades & SPOT series and 3 radar satellites: Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) Earth Observation Data: TerraSAR-X, TanDEM-X, and PAZ, all X-band radar satellites,” the notice added.

“Airbus also uniquely provides a suite of Elevation Data Products derived from optical and radar commercial data, providing elevation data ranges anywhere in the world covering all requirements from large-area coverage to high resolution,” NASA said.

“Airbus radar satellites also can provide all-season digital elevation data for areas of specific scientific interest because they are not affected by clouds,” the space agency added. “Airbus’ global pole-to-pole elevation product coverage along with high resolution and accuracy exceeds that of any global satellite-based elevation model available today.”