Space Imaging Needs To Compete For NextView Contract
Denver-based Space Imaging received bad news from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) of Bethesda, Md., in a March 10 letter informing the company negotiations for the possible award of a $500 million NextView satellite imaging contract would be terminated.
Instead, the NGA may engage in a competitive bidding process in the near future to determine which company would join DigitalGlobe, also of Colorado, as a second source of commercial remote-sensing imagery for the U.S. government defense and intelligence agencies.
Since 1999, Space Imaging has been providing commercial imagery services on its high-resolution IKONOS satellite. U.S. government officials ended the talks with Space Imaging one month after face-to-face meetings between representatives of both organizations had begun.
“Our decision should not be viewed as an adverse inference regarding Space Imaging or its IKONOS II program,” the NGA’s letter explained. “In fact, we encourage your participation in any future competitive acquisitions.”
A government source said the high initial investment costs NGA would have borne by choosing Space Imaging led to the decision, according to sister publication Defense Daily. The contract would have provided the funds needed for the company to begin developing its follow-on satellite to the existing IKONOS spacecraft now on orbit. The existing IKONOS satellite is expected to expire in 2007.
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