8 April 2009
– Chesapeake Analytics Corp. of
is providing the following analysis of news release 12-09 from the Office of the
Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) in which the Director of National
Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced the Obama administration’s plans for
the next generation of electro-optical imaging spy satellites.
In what the administration is calling a ‘2-Plus-2’
approach, Blair announced that the US Government will acquire, via the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO), a pair of highly capable or ‘exquisite’
satellites from established intelligence contractors such as Lockheed or Boeing,
at a system cost of several billions of dollars per satellite. The NRO had
previously sought to acquire such satellites in its disastrous Future Imagery
Architecture, a program cancelled due to management incompetence.
In a break with the Bush administration, the government has
pre-empted an attempt by NRO to build and operate mid-resolution satellites
under various programs such as BASIC or MIDSAT. Instead it will contract with
commercial imagery suppliers GeoEye of Dulles, Virginia, and DigitalGlobe of
Longmont, Colorado for next generation commercial satellites such as those
procured by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) under the existing
NextView contract with the two companies. Under the NextView contract, the NGA
provided a 50% cost-share on the development and deployment of an imaging
satellite owned and operated by the commercial company, while the government
subsequently acquired imagery data from these satellites under an on-going
service-level agreement. In Blair’s announcement, a similar arrangement is
being considered for the next satellite for the two commercial companies. The
announcement is very beneficial to both GeoEye and DigitalGlobe. The shares of
GeoEye (NASDAQ: GEOY) have surged on the news.
full text of the ODNI press release is available at http://www.chesanal.com/geospatialpress.htm
more information, contact Edward A. Jurkevics, Principal Analyst, Chesapeake
Analytics Corp. at (703) 525-6730.