SCOUT Awarded AFWERX SBIR to Revolutionize Space Domain Awareness

Artistic rendering of OVER-Sat observing congestion in orbit. (Credit: SCOUT Inc.)

ALEXANDRIA, Va., November 16, 2021 (SCOUT Inc. PR) — The US Government’s formation of the US Space Force definitively established its commitment to space domain awareness (SDA), but only recently has it cast its focus to commercial innovative SDA. SCOUT Inc. is proud to announce that the Air Force Research Lab, via AFWERX, made a tangible commitment to revolutionary SDA capabilities with a Phase I SBIR contract awarded this month. SCOUT will work under contract to improve detection, tracking, and identification of resident space objects by fusing ground- and space-based sensor data.

SCOUT is supported in this effort by Kayhan Space, another startup focused on space situational awareness and collision avoidance technologies. Eric Ingram, the CEO, and co-founder of SCOUT, spoke of the partnership between SCOUT and Kayhan: “Kayhan Space is a provider of actionable orbital traffic management solutions, and will help us deliver better SDA data even faster.” 

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Air Force Research Laboratory Partners with Google Cloud to Accelerate Collaboration and Drive Research Mission Success

WASHINGTON, D.C. AND DAYTON, OHIO (Google Cloud PR) – Google Cloud announced November 3 that the Air Force Research Laboratory has chosen to deploy Google Workspace as a pilot program among a segment of its workforce of scientists and engineers. The initial deployment has dramatically enhanced engagement with its worldwide network of external research partners.

AFRL is a global research enterprise supporting two services, the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Space Force. From laser-guided optics enabling telescopes to see deeper into the universe than ever before, to fundamental science that has spawned innovations in quantum computing and artificial intelligence, AFRL rapidly scales discovery to deliver leading-edge technologies for the military. Core to the success of AFRL’s mission is engaging with world-leading scientists, small businesses, large industry, and other government agencies to build communities that drive innovation.  

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AFRL Selects Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology

Dr. Andy Williams, center, Air Force Research Laboratory Deputy Technology Executive Officer for Space Science & Technology, explains the engineering of the Roll-Out-Solar Array, or ROSA, to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich during a past visit to AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. (Credit: AFRL)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OHIO (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory has selected Dr. Andrew Williams for the Deputy Technology Engagement Officer for Space Science and Technology (D-TEO), overseeing the lab’s responsibility to carry out the U.S. Space Force mission.

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AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate Holds First-ever Space Cyber Summit

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFRL PR) – The Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate held an inaugural Space Cyber Summit October 13–14. More than 140 space professionals participated in the in-person and virtual event held at Kirtland AFB.

The gathering included space experts from across AFRL, the U.S. Space Force, several federally funded research and development centers, NASA, and many other organizations. 

Col. Eric Felt, director of AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate, initiated the first-ever event, prompted by anticipated R&D technology challenges:

  • A future space domain where space systems will become increasingly software-defined, autonomous, and connected
  • Possible methods to improve cyber resilience of legacy space systems
  • The continuing trend of the commercialization of space
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Six Companies Selected for First-of-Its-Kind Soft Landing Space Tech Cohort

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Q Station PR) – Q Station, a collaborative workspace supported by the Air Force Research Laboratory and U.S. Space Force has chosen six companies for its inaugural Soft Landing Space Tech Cohort. The year-long program will give companies an opportunity to work in the growing New Mexico space ecosystem and to learn more about the U.S.’ space technology needs and how they may be able to work with the federal government to meet those needs. 

The inaugural Soft Landing Space Tech Cohort companies and their headquarters are:

  • Blue Eye Soft – South Carolina — creates AI models that predict satellite anomalies due to space weather events.
  • Equatorial Space Systems – Singapore — developing proprietary hybrid propulsion technology.
  • Leaf Space – Italy — provides ground segment systems for microsats.
  • Neutron Star Systems- Germany — produces electric propulsion system for spacecraft.
  • Rogue Space Systems – New Hampshire — designs satellite vehicles and subsystems to provide on-orbit services to satellite operators.
  • SPiN Tech – Germany — produces a universal adapter to transform incompatible off-the-shelf components to plug-and-play for satellites. 
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Orbit Fab, U.S Air Force Sign CRADA for On-Orbit Refueling Technology

SAN FRANCISCO, October 14, 2021 (Orbit Fab PR) — Orbit Fab, the Gas Stations in Space™ company, has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Space Vehicle Directorate, and the Spacecraft Technology Division to advance on-orbit refueling technology.

Orbit Fab will offer a ubiquitous supply of propellant in Earth orbit. Providing satellites the right fuel, in the right location, when they need it, will enable next generation capabilities for in-space refueling, servicing, assembly and manufacturing. Under the collaboration, Orbit Fab will share technical details and make available its hardware products, such as the RAFTI (The Rapidly Attachable Fluid Transfer Interface) and a cooperative docking guidance solution. The Air Force, in return, will review Orbit Fab’s refueling technologies, advise on requirements and designs, and make available its facilities for advancing performance and qualification. The knowledge exchange will allow Orbit Fab to bring to market its products for both defense users and commercial companies.

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Built by SNC, Largest Structure Ever Launched for Unmanned Mission Wraps Successful On-Orbit Research Operation for AFRL

Demonstration and Science Experiments spacecraft on the production floor. (Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation)

CENTENNIAL, Colo., Sept. 21, 2021 (Sierra Nevada PR) – Global aerospace and national security company Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) concluded a successful two-year on-orbit research mission for U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The mission utilized SNC’s Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) spacecraft in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and resulted in research and technologies that advance potential future deployment of Department of Defense (DoD) spacecraft in the harsh radiation environment of MEO. SNC is a longtime leader in the national security space domain; earlier this year the company transferred its civil and commercial space contracts to its new commercial space subsidiary, Sierra Space.

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Phase Four Wins U.S. Space Force Contract at SpaceWERX Pitch Day

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Phase Four PR) — Phase Four, the creator of the radio-frequency thruster for satellite propulsion, announced today that it has secured a contract with the U.S. Space Force at the SpaceWERX Pitch Day held on August 18th, 2021 for the company’s propellant-agnostic Maxwell engine. Under the contract, Maxwell will utilize ASCENT, a green propellant developed by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, to enable multi-mode propulsion capability, which combines the high thrust capabilities of chemical propulsion and the high efficiency capabilities of electric propulsion.

“Space is rapidly becoming congested and contested,” said Phase Four CEO, Beau Jarvis.  “The U.S. Space Force and commercial satellite operators must increase the maneuverability of their spacecraft to operate safely and minimize on orbit risks.”

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Space Force Pitch Day Awards $32.3 Million to 19 Small Businesses

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFRL PR) – SpaceWERX officially lifted off Aug. 19 during the virtual Space Force Pitch Day. The event closed with 19 small businesses securing Phase II Small Business Innovation Research contracts to advance their cutting-edge space technologies.

The newly launched SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the U.S. Space Force. It will operate as part of AFWERX, the Department of the Air Force’s innovation arm.

“What better way of introducing the new organization than bringing in new partners, locking in new investments and going after great space technology,” said Lt. Col. Walter “Rock” McMillan, SpaceWERX Director. “We’re excited to be partnering with these great companies and the great technology they bring to the table.”

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SpaceWERX Launch Drives AFWERX Small Business Focus on Universities and On-orbit Capability

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (USAF PR) – On August 19, SpaceWERX will officially launch. The kickoff will include a virtual Space Force Pitch Day highlighting the key partnership between the Department of the Air Force and small businesses by awarding up to $34 million to innovative startups competing for Small Business Innovation Research Phase II contracts. At the launch, SpaceWERX will also announce key initiatives to jumpstart the fall campaign.To join the SpaceWERX ecosystem click here

As a part of AFWERX, SpaceWERX will play a vital role in pursuing innovative technologies for the United States Space Force. The Department’s newest innovation arm will create platforms for space operators, lab engineers, and acquisition professionals to collaborate with the brightest minds in academia and industry pursuing novel solutions. Moreover, SpaceWERX will continue to leverage proven AFWERX tools such as the SBIR Open Topic, Challenge platform, STRATFI initiative, and Prime program. 

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U.S. Air Force Explores Cargo Delivery by Rocket

Cargo delivery by rocket. (Credit: U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — The Department of the Air Force announced June 4 the designation of Rocket Cargo as the fourth Vanguard program as part of its transformational science and technology portfolio identified in the DAF 2030 Science and Technology strategy for the next decade. Additionally, the U.S. Space Force was designated as the lead service for Rocket Cargo Vanguard, marking the service’s first such program.

Under the Rocket Cargo Vanguard, the Air Force Research Laboratory will lead a science and technology effort to determine the viability and utility of using large commercial rockets for Department of Defense global logistics, potentially expanding the portfolio of capabilities the USSF presents to combatant commanders. The Space and Missile Systems Center will serve as the Program Executive Officer.

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Hughes and OneWeb to Demonstrate Low Earth Orbit Service in Arctic Region for U.S. Air Force Research Lab

The OneWeb gateway in Svalbard, Norway, capable of 10,000 hand-offs per second, is one of the gateways developed by Hughes that will orchestrate handover and tracking of gigabits of data for NORTHCOM. (Credit: OneWeb/Kongsberg Satellite Services)

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2021 (Hughes/OneWeb PR) — Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), an innovator in satellite and multi-transport technologies and networks for 50 years, and OneWeb, the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communications company, today announced their selection by the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to demonstrate managed LEO satellite communications (SATCOM) services to connect the Arctic region to sites around the globe. Under the agreement, Hughes will test and implement these end-to-end services on the OneWeb system between selected U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) locations, a first step in harnessing the power of LEO satellites for high-speed, low-latency broadband access in the Arctic.

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AFRL Breaks Ground on State of the Art Space Environment Laboratory

A rendering of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Skyway Technology Laboratory that will be constructed on Kirtland AFB, N.M. The AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate held a groundbreaking ceremony March 16. The construction contractor is QA Engineering and architectural contractor is WHPacific, both of Albuquerque, N.M. The lab is projected for occupancy in early 2022. (Rendering by WHPacific)

By Jeanne Dailey
U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate broke ground on a new facility named the Skywave Technology Laboratory on March 16. The 3,500 square foot, $3.5 million lab will be located in a remote area on Kirtland Air Force Base.

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Orbital Sidekick Awarded $16M U.S. Air Force STRATFI Contract

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (Orbital Sidekick PR) — Orbital Sidekick (OSK) announced today that it has been awarded a $16 million multi-year contract by the Department of the Air Force’s commercial investment group (AFVentures), in conjunction with the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), as part of its Strategic Financing (STRATFI) program.

This award, which is matched by private investment funds, will allow OSK to accelerate the deployment of six advanced hyperspectral imaging (HSI) satellites with edge processing capabilities as well as integrate its Spectral Intelligence Global Monitoring Application (SIGMA™) platform with the USAF Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS).

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Orbit Logic Awarded AFRL/AFWERX Space Situational Awareness Planning & Analysis Contract

GREENBELT, MD (Orbit Logic PR) – Orbit Logic, a leading provider of planning and scheduling software, announced today that it has been awarded an AFWERX Direct to Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

The award will enhance the Heimdall Fire Space Situational Awareness (SSA) planning solution. Heimdall Fire is an existing software solution consisting of Orbit Logic COTS software products configured for SSA observation planning.

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