Contributions of Satellite Data and Expectations for Communication Infrastructure. Transformation of Satellite Data Use as Observed at GEOINT, a Conference Dedicated to the Use of Geospatial Information in the U.S. National Security.
A paradigm shift is now underway in the geospatial information field, as governments begin to actively incorporate the services of private companies.
Government and military-related project with large budgets are a tipping point that will shake up the commercial sector.
CXOs and business managers from space-related companies are all attending conferences where the heads of the relevant agencies gather.
In February, WARPSPACE’s Note delivered a report on Defence Geospatial Intelligence 2022 (DGI), a conference held in London and attended by many security officials from the United States and the United Kingdom.
DGI, along with GEOINT, is one of the two major conferences in the East and West in the field of geospatial intelligence for government and security officials.
This report is on the GEOINT Symposium (GEOINT), the remaining one of the two major conferences. It was held at the end of April in Colorado, USA.
What did the leaders of the industry, which is going through a transitional period, have to say? WARPSPACE’s CSO Mori, who visited the conference, looks back on what was said at the conference.
From private sector technology supplemented procurement to private sector based procurement
A hot topic at this year’s GEOINT was the damage caused by the invasion of Ukraine as visualized by satellite data. As the information war intensified, companies released neutral data in the form of satellite images, which were reported by the mass media, and the devastation in Ukrainian cities became widely known.
The contribution of satellite data was mentioned extensively in keynote speeches and panel discussions. The impact of the stories told by top government and military officials was extremely large, and this is a case where the value of satellite data from the private sector was maximized.
In fact, at this year’s GEOINT, panel discussions were prepared specifically for each satellite, including RF, SAR, and hyperspectral satellites, as well as optical satellites, and representative companies took the stage.
The panelists showed the interest of government and military officials in purchasing satellite data from the private sector.
Traditionally, what could not be captured by government satellites was procured from the private sector, but in the U.S., this is beginning to change to private sector-based procurement.
The U.S. is the center of the space industry
In Dr. Chris Scolese’s speech, the Director of the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), indicated that the NRO will continue to procure satellite data from private companies and that it is willing to consider any potential procurement company with a branch office in the United States even if its headquarters are located outside the U.S.
To date, NRO has contracted with several satellite operators in the U.S. In January 2022, NRO also signed a contract with a company headquartered in Europe.
WARPSPACE is in the process of opening a local office in preparation for a full-scale entry into the U.S. market.
In March, we signed a collaboration agreement with GXO, a strategic support provider. So this trend of the U.S. government expanding the scope of private procurement is something to keep an eye on.
In the meantime, Richard Dalbello, a member of GXO and the VP of Government Affairs in charge of WARPSPACE, has been appointed Director of the Office of Space Commerce at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), GEOINT announced during the session.
This came as a huge surprise to us!
Speed required for the realization of satellite infrastructure
NASA’s announcement that it had selected six companies to demonstrate the successor to its existing Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS) was also a topic of keynote speeches and panel discussions.
In Japan, NTT and SKY Perfect JSAT Corporation announced at the same time that they had established a joint venture company to work on a project to realize large-capacity data transmission using optical communications in a quasi-real-time manner.
These developments indicate that the need for low-latency communications is steadily increasing.
What made me happy during this visit was that when I spoke with a top official of a government agency at a round-table discussion, he knew the name of WARPSPACE.
It made me realize that our company is receiving attention.
GEOINT showed that the U.S. government’s past efforts to promote private procurement and the resulting technological innovations are rapidly increasing in response to major changes in the current trends.
In particular, as the future outlook for security is becoming increasingly difficult to predict, there is a marked desire to take “precautionary measures” before something happens.
In this situation, the private sector is expected to provide what government agencies need quickly and at a low cost. However, the basic premise for this is to provide technologically safe and reliable products and services, including cybersecurity performance.
Our goal is to establish the world’s first private-sector optical inter-satellite data relay network, ‘WarpHub InterSat”, to seamlessly connect space and the ground. The fact that optical has a higher level of security compared to radio waves is a key factor in meeting the needs of government and military officials.
Several companies are envisioning similar services globally, but no one has successfully demonstrated the technology and no decision has been made.
WARPSPACE will work with speed to be the first in the world to enter the market.