NASA and Hera Systems Enter into Space Act Agreement
Collaboration paves the way for commercial launch of low-cost, ultra-stable, high-resolution, NASA-grade Earth observation platform
SAN JOSE, Calif., August 4, 2016 – Hera Systems, home of innovative, small satellite platforms for Earth observation and real-time on-board analytics, announced that it has entered into a Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement (NRSAA) with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center (“NASA Ames”). Under this agreement, NASA Ames and Hera Systems will collaborate on the development of an upgraded satellite design for Hera Systems that is based on NASA’s existing COTSAT (Cost Optimized Test for Spacecraft Avionics and Technologies) prototype spacecraft. The agreement is a key stepping stone in Hera Systems’ plans to deliver affordable, highly refreshed, high-resolution satellite imagery and derived information to customers, and significantly accelerates the company’s own development timeline.
The arrangement with NASA Ames is unique in the aerospace industry. It enables Hera Systems to use the COTSAT technology to undertake final mission integration, launch and operation of its own 2HOPSat™ (2nd-Generation High Optical Performance Satellite), a low Earth orbit system designed to provide imagery of the Earth for a range of government and commercial applications.
NASA Ames originally developed COTSAT to demonstrate rapid and low-cost prototyping concepts. Based on this design, which houses the bus and payload subsystems in a single-atmosphere, artificial environment, the Hera Systems 2HOPSat technology demonstrator will accommodate multiple payloads, including a sensor capable of imaging the Earth’s surface at better than 22 centimeters ground sample distance (GSD). This level of resolution is particularly suitable to security applications and for monitoring the built environment and related activity.
“This unique arrangement with NASA helps Hera Systems realize the promise of the COTSAT design, and demonstrates new heights of performance in a low-cost Earth observation platform,” said Bobby Machinski, chief executive officer and president of Hera Systems. “We’re thrilled, because we’re able to save money and time by leveraging NASA’s program investment.”
Current U.S. government policy restricts commercial satellite imagery resolution to 1-meter (multispectral) and 25-centimeter (panchromatic). However, to date, governments are the most frequent users of the highest quality imagery, while other types of user organizations are limited by the high cost of and low access to such products; Hera Systems’ objective is to greatly broaden the user base.
“Our aim is to level the playing field. We know that certain applications in government and commerce benefit particularly from 31-centimeter resolution and better, and intend to open up access to such imagery and derived information to the greatest allowable extent,” Machinski said.
COTSAT provides an ideal foundation for the extremely stable platform necessary for such levels of ultra-high resolution imaging and optical communications. 2HOPSat will incorporate sensors to cover a range of visible and infrared spectra for the delivery of still-frame and video products. It will also incorporate on-board analytics capabilities that are already built into Hera Systems’ first-generation 1HOPSat design. As announced in a February 2016 news release, the 1HOPSat constellation will provide fresh, daily imagery and video as well as intelligent analytics and derived information products. The company is on track to launch the 1HOPSat constellation beginning in late 2016, and plans to launch the 2HOPSat mission in late 2017.
More information about Hera Systems’ products and services may be obtained by contacting the Hera Systems sales team directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1.844.437.2797 ext. 721.
“This unique arrangement with NASA helps Hera Systems realize the promise of the COTSAT design, and demonstrates new heights of performance in a low-cost Earth observation platform.“ – Bobby Machinski, CEO