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BlackSky Heralds Win of DoD Contract for Moving Target Analysis

By Frank Wolfe | March 6, 2024

      Rendering of a BlackSky satellite. Photo: BlackSky

      BlackSky Technology said on March 4 that it won a multi-million dollar U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) contract to collect and annotate thousands of BlackSky multi-frame burst images to train moving target artificial intelligence models for commercial motion imagery.

      “We are taking BlackSky’s industry-leading ability to monitor moving objects from space another step forward by enhancing analytic accuracy and the ability to recognize patterns of life,” Patrick O’Neil, BlackSky’s chief technology officer, said in a company statement. “This foundational work is expected to help decrease the time to develop moving target algorithms for other related customer-led initiatives.”

      “BlackSky multi-frame burst images are collected in rapid succession during a single satellite pass over an area of interest,” the company said. “With multiple view angles captured within a matter of seconds, burst imagery can be used to generate 3D volumetric products and very accurate movement-oriented detection analytics. Burst imagery, along with all BlackSky offerings, can uniquely be captured from early in the day to late in the evening. The contract provides subscription-based access to the BlackSky Spectra tasking and analytics platform. The customer expects to use BlackSky’s high-cadence, low-latency imagery and automated analytics to support customer-approved exercises, technology demonstrations and operations.”

      Last October, BlackSky said that it had won a Space Development Agency contract through the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s AFWERX innovation arm to help track forces on the move through automated target recognition (ATR).

      The ATR is to integrate radio frequency and electro-optical satellite sensor data “to track mobile assets in real-time and securely distribute actionable intelligence to remote devices and analysts worldwide,” BlackSky said.