Earth imagery provider DigitalGlobe has announced the formation of a joint venture with TAQNIA, a firm dedicated to accelerating technology development for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in partnership with KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology). The agreement aims to develop a constellation of highly capable small imaging satellites to support the needs of customers around the world.
DigitalGlobe and TAQNIA and KACST signed an agreement on 21 February 2016, to form a joint venture that will be responsible for developing six or more sub-meter resolution imaging satellites. The small satellites are expected to be capable of collecting imagery with anticipated 80 cm resolution and will leverage DigitalGlobe’s industry-leading ground infrastructure. TAQNIA and KACST will benefit from DigitalGlobe’s imagery production platform and expertise and massive catalog of high-resolution, high-accuracy imagery, which will improve the native accuracy of the small satellite imagery.
In a public announcement the details of the agreement explian that KACST will construct, integrate, and launch the satellites, and it will own 50% of the satellites’ imaging capacity inside of KACST’s communication cone, which includes Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region. DigitalGlobe will have rights to the other 50% of the capacity inside this region and 100% of the satellites’ capacity outside of the region. TAQNIA will be responsible for marketing and monetizing 50% of the capacity within the KACST communication cone. DigitalGlobe will be responsible for marketing and monetizing the remaining 50% of capacity within the KACST communication cone and 100% of the remaining worldwide capacity.
“The satellites developed under this partnership will allow us to uniquely unlock new value in emerging use cases by combining high-resolution, high-accuracy imagery and high-revisit imagery,” said Jeffrey R. Tarr, DigitalGlobe President and Chief Executive Officer. “This innovative, capital-efficient business model leverages DigitalGlobe’s extensive investment in an industry-leading ground infrastructure and our customer relationships to the mutual benefit of both parties. We are proud to expand our strong partnership with H.H. Dr. Turki and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
“Partnering with the premier commercial satellite imaging firm will help to propel the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to become a leader in remote sensing and satellite technology,” said H.H. Dr. Turki bin Saud, Chairman of the Board of Directors for TAQNIA and President of KACST.