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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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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Maxar Awarded $26 Million Contract to Continue Development and Support for NGA’s Open Mapping Platform

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (Maxar Technologies PR) — Maxar Technologies (NYSE:MAXR) (TSX:MAXR), a trusted partner and innovator in Earth Intelligence and Space Infrastructure, today announced it has been awarded a five-year contract worth up to $26.4 million by the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to sustain and enhance the National System for Geospatial Intelligence Open Mapping Enclave (NOME). Under the agreement, Maxar will continue to provide engineering, software development and geospatial tradecraft in support of NOME.

The web-based NOME platform enables a community of vetted U.S. government users to create and update geospatial features in a crowdsourced “living map.” NOME was initially developed to support NGA’s foundation mapping mission, but the platform emerged as a powerful tool to perform unclassified mission support remotely throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Increasingly, users also leverage the platform to create features for further dissemination across multiple networks and to train artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) models.

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Xplore Receives USAF Contract to Develop a Commercial Navigation & Timing Service for Cislunar Space

REDMOND, Wash. (Xplore PR) — Xplore Inc., an innovative commercial space company providing Space as a Service® has announced a follow on contract with the U.S. Air Force, (USAF) to continue developing their positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) solution as a commercial service for cislunar space. Xplore’s current Phase II effort culminates in a hardware in the loop testbed that will demonstrate the required performance to enable precision cislunar missions while laying the foundation for a subsequent on-orbit test of the PNT system. This Phase II SBIR, awarded for commercial and technical innovations between the Earth and the Moon, provides the Air Force with the necessary capabilities to extend precision operations to the Moon and across cislunar space.

The PNT system Xplore is developing enables exploration, operations and commercial activities in cislunar space — a vast region that extends past the Moon to the edge of interplanetary space and is over ten thousand times the volume than nearly all space operations around the Earth. An equivalent GPS-like navigation and timing solution for this expanse does not currently exist, and Xplore’s revolutionary solution leverages its internal platform development to provide critical infrastructure services beyond geosynchronous orbit.

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Sedaro Goes Live with Sedaro Satellite SaaS, Wins $1.7 Million in USAF Funding for Further Development

ARLINGTON, Va., (Sedaro Satellite PR) — Sedaro Satellite is a modular Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform for model-based satellite engineering. This platform enable’s engineering teams to develop an integrated, multi-disciplinary model of their space mission and simulate its on-orbit behavior in the cloud.

In Sedaro Satellite, teams iteratively model, simulate, and analyze their design until all performance requirements are met. “Satellite engineering is dramatically cheaper and faster with Sedaro Satellite. Intuitive design capture, engaging analytics, and powerful cloud computing resources reduce the level of specialized expertise and engineering-hours required to develop a successful satellite mission.” says Sedaro CEO and Co-founder Robbie Robertson.

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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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Apollo to Artemis: Drilling on the Moon

This mini-panorama combines two photographs taken by Apollo 15 lunar module pilot Jim Irwin, from the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package (ALSEP) site, at the end of the second Apollo 15 moonwalk on August 1, 1971. Scott is leaning to his right and is putting down the Apollo Lunar Surface drill used to take core samples and set up a heat flow experiment. The Solar Wind Spectrometer is in the right foreground. The min-pan of photographs AS15-11845 and 11847 was combined by Erik van Meijgaarden, volunteer contributor to the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal site. (Credits: Erik van Meijgaarden)

By Leejay Lockhart
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Fifty years ago, Apollo 15 lifted off from Kennedy Space Center, sending Commander David R. Scott, Command Module Pilot Alfred M. Worden, and Lunar Module Pilot James B. Irwin on the first of three Apollo “J” missions. These missions gave astronauts the opportunity to explore the Moon for longer periods using upgraded and more plentiful scientific instruments than ever before. Apollo 15 was the first mission where astronauts used the Apollo Lunar Surface Drill (ALSD) and the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV).

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Air Force Tasks Rhea Space Activity to Build Rapid-Response Lunar Communications Spacecraft

Rhea Scorpius Propulsive Burn (Credit: Rhea Space Activity)

RSA Investigates a Novel High-Thrust, High-Efficiency Propulsion System

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2021 (Rhea Space Activity PR) — As U.S. operations in space steadily move further away from Earth orbit, the rapidly growing ‘New Space’ company Rhea Space Activity (RSA) is pleased to announce that it has been selected by the United States Air Force (USAF) for a Phase I, Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 2021 Space Force Pitch Day award to investigate a bi-modal, solar-thermal propulsion system that would provide rapid repositioning capabilities for a future United State Space Force (USSF) deep space communications spacecraft.

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NASA Awards PickNik an SBIR Grant for Orbital Robot Autonomy

Credit: PikNik
  • PickNik Robotics is developing an easy-to-use supervised autonomy solution to command remote, complex robots.
  • The commercially available version is called MoveIt Studio, with an initial release slated for Summer 2021.
  • MoveIt Studio expands the problem-solving capabilities of traditional robot teleoperation.

BOULDER, CO, June 8th, 2021 (PickNik Robotics PR) – PickNik Robotics announced on June 8th that it has been awarded a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop its technology for advanced planning capabilities for robots in microgravity environments.

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ExoTerra, Virgin Orbit to Develop Solar Electric Upper Stage with NASA SBIR Funding

LauncherOne ignites after being dropped from Cosmic Girl. (Credit: Virgin Orbit)

The solar electric propulsion upper stage opens a path to cis-lunar space, GEO, and beyond for Virgin Orbit’s small satellite customers

LITTLETON, Colo., June 1, 2021 (ExoTerra Resource PR) — NASA has awarded Littleton, CO-based ExoTerra Resource a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award for the firm’s solar electric propulsion upper stage, currently under development in partnership with California-based launch services provider Virgin Orbit.

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NASA Space Technology Budget Request Fact Sheet

NASA’s Psyche mission to a distant metal asteroid will carry a revolutionary Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package. This artist’s concept shows Psyche spacecraft with a five-panel array. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin)

NASA FACT SHEET
FY 2022 Budget Request
Space Technology
($ Millions)

The Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) develops transformative, cross-cutting technologies that lead to research and technology breakthroughs to enable NASA’s missions and is broadening its focus on cross-cutting space technologies that will support creating good jobs in a growing space industry.

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