Astrobotic Wins $1.5M to Mature Satellite Servicing and Hazard Detection Systems for Space

Example LiDAR Reconstruction of Spacecraft (Simulated); this mapping will be generated by Astrobotic’s algorithms to enable satellite servicing and hazard detection. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

PITTSBURGH (Astrobotic PR) — Astrobotic has won two NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contracts worth $1.5 million to further advance novel Laser Imaging, Detection, and Ranging (LiDAR) software solutions. When space qualified, these software packages will support in-space satellite servicing as well as safe landing on celestial objects such as the Moon or asteroids through accurate hazard detection.

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NASA Chooses Small Businesses to Continue Exploration Tech Development

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program has chosen 110 U.S. small businesses for continued technology development. The range of projects support space exploration and improvements to life on Earth – from foldable solar array technology that could help power astronauts’ work on the Moon to antenna technology that could improve satellite internet service.

NASA’s SBIR program provides early-stage funding and other non-monetary support to small businesses with pioneering ideas to help advance NASA’s missions, as well as the aerospace ecosystem. The new round of awards gives almost $95 million to small businesses across 123 projects.

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NSF Awards Grant to Emerging Futures to Develop Lunar Landing Pad Material

Portland, Ore., March 10, 2022 (Emerging Futures PR) — Emerging Futures, LLC, a research and analysis consultancy focused on climate change mitigation and the commercial expansion of space, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) 2021-2022 Phase I Grant from the National Science Foundation.

This Grant enables Emerging Futures to continue developing its PolyBrick™ polymer-regolith composite lunar landing pad concept. This innovative, sustainable, and scalable material will be constructed entirely from lunar materials.

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Orbital Insight Wins Department of Defense Contract to Develop Technology to Identify Intentional GNSS Disruptions

New platform will detect and characterize Global Navigation Satellite Systems spoofing operations using artificial intelligence and commercially available data

PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 10, 2022 (Orbital Insight PR) — Orbital Insight, the leader in geospatial intelligence, today announced that it has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to deliver a new technology platform for identifying intentional Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) interference and manipulation operations across the world. The platform will leverage commercially available data to detect GNSS spoofing, where falsified or manipulated GNSS signals are used to confuse adversaries or obscure illicit activities, presenting risk to both government and commercial operations. Orbital Insight was selected through DoD’s Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) solicitation process seeking commercial solutions to counter the growing threat of GNSS disruptions to national security.

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Scientific Systems Company Demonstrates AI-Enabled Edge-Based On-Orbit Processing for the Space Development Agency

WOBURN, Mass., Feb. 8, 2022 (SSCI PR) — Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI), an industry leader and pioneer in autonomous systems, has conducted initial demonstrations of its AI-enabled edge processing system as part of the Prototype On-Orbit Experimental Testbed (POET) experiment for the Space Development Agency (SDA). POET is hosted onboard Loft Orbital’s YAM-3, a “satellite-as-a-service” platform which was launched June 30, 2021 on Space-X’s Transporter-2 mission. POET’s space-based edge processing system is powered by SSCI’s Collaborative Mission Autonomy (CMA) software. POET provides an on-orbit SDA data fusion application prototype within the CMA software running on POET’s Innoflight CFC-400, a low size, weight, and power, highly capable, 0.5U size commercial off-the-shelf space processor.

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Masten’s Reusable Rockets Prepare Spacecraft for Distant Landing on Other Worlds

Technology for spaceflight requires testing on Earth. Masten Space Systems built Xodiac to test terrain-relative navigation and hazard-avoidance systems for landings on Mars, the Moon, and more. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Rocket-powered vehicle for testing lander navigation systems supports space companies

MOJAVE, Calif. (Mojave PR) — How can a spacecraft land itself on alien terrain? NASA needed a better answer than “very carefully.” To spur innovation towards the first autonomous landings on the Moon, the agency presented the Lunar Lander Challenge. In 2009, a young company called Masten Space Systems earned one of the top prizes.

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Lunar Resources to Mine Metals on the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

HOUSTON (Lunar Resources PR) – Recent awards from NASA and the National Science Foundation have created a path forward for Houston-based Lunar Resources, Inc., to perform mining of oxygen and metals on the Moon as early as 2024.

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Advanced Cooling Technologies to Develop Technologies to Allow Systems to Survive Lunar Night Using NASA Funding

Figure 1. Conceptual illustration of combined Thermal Switch and Variable Conductance Thermal Control System for Lunar Landers and Rovers. (a) During the day the electronics are generating heat and the thermal switch and VCHP is ON. Heat is rejected to the radiator and stored in the liquid Phase Change Material (PCM). (b) At night, the thermal switch is OFF, and the VCHP is shut down, with Non-Condensable Gas (NCG) blocking the condenser and adiabatic section. Thermal resistance between electronics and sink is maximum. The PCM cools down and freezes, supplying heat to maintain the temperature of the electronics. (Credit: Advanced Cooling Technologies)

LANCASTER, Pa. (ACT PR) — Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is excited to announce a $5 Million NASA Sequential Phase II SBIR Program Award, “Development of Lunar Vehicle and Payload Thermal Control Systems for Extreme Lunar Environments”.  As part of this project, ACT is subcontracting Astrobotic to provide their industry experience with lunar landers and rovers, including system-level architecture and critical design requirements. Astrobotic will validate the technology using their Peregrine lander, Griffin lander, and CubeRover thermal system architectures as a baseline.

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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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NASA, Small Business Advance Autonomous Metal 3D Printing in Space

EBF3 technology was tested in a simulated zero-gravity environment and worked successfully. (Credits: NASA)

HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — Researchers are one step closer to autonomously 3D printing metals in space.

Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication, or EBF3, uses an electron beam gun, dual wire feed, and computer controls to manufacture metallic structures. In development for more than two decades, the process still relies on a human to observe and adjust the system.

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Mitigating Lunar Dust: Masten Completes FAST Landing Pad Study

A spacecraft creates its own landing pad using the in-Flight Alumina Spray Technique system. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

MOJAVE, Calif. (Masten Space Systems PR) — Landing on the Moon (and staying on the Moon) is no easy task. The lunar surface has limited sunlight, extremely cold temperatures, and lots and lots of dust (a.k.a. lunar regolith). But the good news is, Masten is up for the challenge!

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Rebel Space Technologies Wins NASA Autonomous Space Mission Networking Contract

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rebel Space Technologies PR) — Rebel Space Technologies has been awarded a NASA Phase II SBIR for their proposal Space Weaver: A Collaborative Smart Network for Space Communications. The proposal leverages Rebel Space’s proprietary Rebel Cognitive Communications & Control software (Rebel-C3) for autonomous network management, in addition to their partner Prewitt Ridge’s VerifAI.

In SpaceWeaver, the Rebel-C3 software creates a distributed cognitive space communications network for lunar operations that increases mission science data return and improves network resource efficiencies for NASA missions. The software uses artificial intelligence enhanced distributed sensing and optimized data routing to ensure efficient, resilient operations in an unpredictable space environment. The ultimate goal is to coordinate the transfer and relay of mission data across the lunar architecture based on data priority, content, schedule, and environmental conditions, a necessity for future lunar missions.

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NASA Small Business Partners Advance Lunar Technologies

Illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. NASA’s Artemis mission will establish a sustainable presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. (Credits: NASA)

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. (NASA PR) — Small businesses around the country have played a critical part in NASA technologies that enable our missions. As NASA returns to the Moon via the Artemis program, in an enhanced, sustainable way; the agency has selected five U.S. small businesses to receive a total of nearly $20 million to accelerate the development of novel lunar capabilities. 

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