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SCOUT Awarded AFWERX SBIR to Revolutionize Space Domain Awareness

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

November 16, 2021: 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.”

This award represents growing stakeholder recognition of SDA as a challenge in an increasingly congested environment, and how multi-domain data integration can mitigate uncertainty in space. Space congestion and debris are a growing concern to industry and government leaders. CONFERS and the Space Safety Coalition are just some of the groups ratifying standards for more sustainable and conscientious practices.

“Best practices are not enough: orbital debris and collision threats fundamentally require improved data and new data modalities,” noted Sergio Gallucci, CTO and co-founder of SCOUT. He advocates for increased space situational awareness and collision avoidance for satellites as a matter of course.

“There needs to be an organic industry-based solution for improving visibility,” Dr. Siamak Hesar, CEO and Co-founder of Kayhan Space, agreed.

SCOUT and Kayhan Space both participated in the Hyperspace Challenge and share heritage as Techstars-backed companies. Their collaboration began in June of 2021, during the same time that SCOUT launched its first space-based sensor system, SCOUT-Vision, into space onboard the Tanker-001 Tenzing spacecraft.

There is a growing ecosystem around technologies that enable satellite servicing and space autonomy. SCOUT is also partnered with Benchmark Space Systems, which develops propulsion and mobility solutions, and Orbit Fab, which provides refueling capabilities to spacecraft; all three flew together on Orbit Fab’s Tenzing mission.

“Our belief is that all ships rise with the tide, and all of us want space to be a safe and thriving environment to operate in,” Ingram said.

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