On July 9,2021, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite operator Umbra Labs was part of a group of companies winning awards out of a $950 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) vehicle from the Department of Defense (DoD). The contracts were awarded as a part of the DoD’s effort for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).
“The contract vehicle has a lot of potential and is a great opportunity for Umbra. The initial award is small compared to our other government contracts but this is a positive signal and it offers an avenue for the government to get familiar with our capabilities,” said Umbra co-founder Gabe Dominocielo.
JADC2 is a DoD effort to connect sensors from all the military services into a single network, according to the Congressional Research Service. Ultimately, DoD would like to have an “internet of things” approach, connecting sensors with weapons systems and using artificial intelligence to help improve decision making. To support this effort, DoD is working with a range of companies to put up satellite constellations for sensors and communications networks to collect and move information faster.
Umbra was the only radar satellite company included in this round of awards. The IDIQ vehicle doesn’t guarantee that any services will be purchased but provides DoD with the ability to buy imagery as needed through May 2025. Other contractors included in this round include Hughes Network Systems, Kymeta, Oracle, Software AG, and Hypergiant Galactic Systems.
Buying imagery from Umbra enables DoD to become more familiar with its services and start work with how to streamline/pipeline Umbra imagery into AI analytical tools for processing. However, the company will be compared to imagery and services provided by Capella Space’s growing constellation of SAR satellites, ICEYE’s U.S. subsidiary, and whatever PredaSAR rolls out later this year.