Space Force Awards Three Contracts to Ombra and Partner Clarkson University

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Space Force Awards Three Contracts to Ombra and Partner Clarkson University

Insider Brief:

  • Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Michael Bazzocchi has been awarded three U.S. Space Force STTR subcontracts with Ombra worth $254,416 as part of the first SpaceWERX Space Prime effort, Orbital Prime.
  • The project also includes funding from the Clarkson Center for Advanced Material Processing (CAMP), a New York State Center for Advanced Technology (CAT).
  • Bazzocchi says as more and more spacecraft are launched into Earth orbit, the chance of collision with defunct satellites and other space debris increases each year. These projects will develop methods to detect and eliminate some of these hazards as well as create new approaches to manufacture and assemble new satellites right in orbit.

PRESS RELEASE — Potsdam, NY, Dec. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Michael Bazzocchi has been awarded three U.S. Space Force STTR subcontracts with Ombra worth $254,416 as part of the first SpaceWERX Space Prime effort, Orbital Prime. The project also includes funding from the Clarkson Center for Advanced Material Processing (CAMP), a New York State Center for Advanced Technology (CAT).

Ombra and Clarkson will help to develop technologies to refuel, repair, assemble and manufacture satellites while in orbit as well as technology to detect and remove obsolete spacecraft and fragments.

Ombra collaborates with a range of business partners to provide cutting-edge technology solutions to the U.S. Special Operations Forces and the Department of Defense.

Bazzocchi, the principal investigator on the grants, directs Clarkson’s Astronautics and Robotics Laboratory (ASTRO Lab).

“As more and more spacecraft are launched into Earth orbit, the chance of collision with defunct satellites and other space debris increases each year,” says Bazzocchi. “These projects will develop methods to detect and eliminate some of these hazards as well as create new approaches to manufacture and assemble new satellites right in orbit.”

“The Space Force currently tracks more than 40,000 objects in space, only about 5,000 of which are active satellites,” says Space Force General David D. Thompson, vice chief of space operations. “Those 40,000 objects are about the size of one’s fist or larger. But conservative estimates say there are at least 10 times as many smaller objects in orbit that we cannot reliably track. And yet, those smaller bits of debris pose as much or greater risk to our satellites as the larger pieces.”

As congestion and debris threaten the long-term sustainability of the space domain, Orbital Prime will transition agile, affordable, and accelerated on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing space capabilities to build the foundation for space logistics. On-orbit capability will be demonstrated on an accelerated timeline in two to four years.

“Our goal through Orbital Prime is to partner with innovative minds in industry, academia, and research institutions to advance and apply state-of-the-art technology and operating concepts in the area of debris mitigation and removal,” says Thompson.

About Ombra
Ombra is a leading technology and professional services firm that works primarily with the US Department of Defense (DOD). It develops technology products in the areas of biometrics, space technologies, AI, machine learning, power and energy, chemical detection, undersea and more. The team has several US military veterans to solve the technology challenges of the DOD effectively, efficiently, and reliably. Since 2018, Ombra has worked on numerous technology projects for the DOD including for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Special Operations Forces and more. More information at: https://ombra.us

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force and United States Space Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space, and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,000 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit: www.afresearchlab.com

About SpaceWERX
SpaceWERX is the Space component of AFWERX (a program office at the Air Force Research Laboratory-AFRL) which connects innovators across government, industry, and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with our nation’s top subject-matter experts and harnessing the power of ingenuity of internal talent, by expanding technology, talent, and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available at: https://www.spacewerx.us/.

About SpaceWERX Orbital Prime
SpaceWERX Orbital Prime leverages a diverse industry partnership engagement strategy to identify nascent space technology sectors that, if “primed,” could advance U.S. national security and economic prosperity. Prime engagement is not limited to government investment, but also allows SpaceWERX to address key policy concerns as well as offer testbeds and platforms to advance capabilities. The first Space Prime effort, Orbital Prime will invigorate the In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) market using Active Debris Remediation (ADR) as a use case for the foundational technologies. Learn more at https://spacewerx.us/space-prime/.

Read more about Ombra at ombra.us and the Astronautics and Robotics Laboratory (ASTRO Lab) at astrolabresearch.com.

SOURCE: Clarkson University

Feature image: Image by LoganArt from Pixabay