Air Force Awards SBIR Contract to Analytical Space
Contract will accelerate development of technology to expand connectivity in orbit
The United States Air Force has awarded Analytical Space Inc. (ASI) a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract through the AFWERX program. The award is a multi-year agreement that will provide ASI with Air Force resources of undisclosed value to support the development of ASI’s data relay technology.
Connected by inter-satellite laser links, ASI's planned data relay network will provide remote sensing satellites with global data coverage
ASI plans to deploy their data relay technology onboard a global network of shoebox-sized satellites. Providing a high-speed data connection in space, these small satellites will dramatically expand the utility of the space-based remote sensing industry. Satellite operators who offload their data to the network will have access to more of their data in less time, without needing to update the hardware on their satellites.
“The Air Force has a long history of coming up with innovative solutions to complex problems,” said Dan Nevius, CEO and Co-Founder of Analytical Space, “we are proud to have their support in bringing more remote sensing data down from space, keeping our country safer while fostering growth in the private sector.”
The U.S. Government purchases data from commercial remote sensing satellite service providers to monitor conditions around the world for civil and defense purposes. These satellites typically can only offload their data when they are overhead a ground station, which are limited in their placement by geographical and geopolitical constraints. This results in a delay between data acquisition and downlink. ASI’s data relay network will reduce this delay by routing data between satellites, which provides opportunities for much more timely access to cost-efficient commercial imagery for the Air Force and other government customers.
Radix, the first ASI tech demo satellite, enters Low Earth Orbit after deploying from the International Space Station (Image Credit: NASA & Nanoracks)
Analytical Space launched their first satellite, Radix, in July of 2018. Radix is a 6U technology demonstration cubesat designed to receive data from client satellites as if it were a ground station in orbit, before using a laser to transfer the data to the ground at high speeds. It has a fully booked test campaign with a cohort of 12 partner satellites operated by a combination of government, research, and commercial entities.
Established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force and reporting to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force, AFWERX is a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement across industry, academia and non-traditional contributors to create transformative opportunities and foster an Air Force culture of innovation. The core mission of AFWERX is to improve Air Force capabilities by connecting innovators, simplifying technology transfer and accelerating results. For more information on AFWERX, visit https://afwerxdc.org
About Analytical Space Inc. (ASI)
Analytical Space is launching a network of nanosatellite data relays that will provide a high-speed data connection for Earth observation satellites. ASI’s network will allow satellite operators to generate more data and get it to the ground faster, all while using their existing hardware. By closing the connectivity gaps in orbit, our network will unlock new possibilities for innovation in space, enable insights to optimize the global economy, and help us understand our planet like never before.