Maxar to Begin Launching WorldView Legion Satellites in Summer 2023

Maxar to Begin Launch WorldView Legion Satellites in Summer 2023

Maxar Technologies is currently planning to launch the first two WorldView Legion satellites in June of 2023. Worldview Legion will be an upgrade from predecessor satellites, with Maxar claiming it will be able to provide the true location of imaging within 5 meters, which is 5-20x better than other imaging satellites on orbit, and can distinguish between sedans, SUVs, and trucks. In 2022, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) took notice of such high on-orbit capability and awarded a $3.2 billion contract for 5 years plus five additional options through 2032, the largest ever commercial acquisition contract from the intelligence agency.

This is a major win for Maxar considering Worldview-4, previously its state-of-the-art asset, was decommissioned after just over two years on-orbit, but Advent will be taking over Maxar this summer. While there are no negative cybersecurity implications of the NRO receiving collected images for a supplemental intelligence means, several recent governmental directives have pushed commercial companies to be more wary of cyber risks. If an adversary were to get into a system like Worldview Legion, it would indeed have access to a powerful on-orbit imaging satellite. Fortunately, the procurer Advent seems to take cybersecurity very seriously, providing recent financial means such as expansion capital for cybersecurity companies Certik and Cyware and public-to-private funding for Forescout, all in the last 3 years, totaling billions in cybersecurity investments.