Space Force Awards $37.5 Million Contract to Starfish Space for Innovative Satellite Mission

Starfish Space Otter Pup Satellite

Table of Contents

Insider Brief:

  • The US Space Systems Command has awarded Starfish Space Inc. with a $37.5 million Strategic Funding Increase contract to contribute to the Otter satellite vehicle.
  • The Otter satellite will perform a unique docking mission to enhance the maneuverability of National Security Space assets for two years.
  • Beyond enhanced maneuvering, the Otter can assist with station-keeping, life extension, orbital transfer, and eventual orbital disposal, ensuring sustained access to crucial orbital slots and promoting responsible space operations.

 

Space Systems Command (SSC), the United States Space Force’s space development, acquisition, launch, and logistics field command announced it has awarded a $37.5 million Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) contract to Starfish Space. The contract entails supporting the development, launch, and operation of the Otter satellite vehicle. The Otter satellite will perform a unique docking mission to enhance the maneuverability of National Security Space assets for two years.

SSC’s collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory’s SpaceWERX Program, Starfish Space, Space Safari, and the SSC Commercial Space Office seeks to improve the responsiveness, resilience, and strategic flexibility of U.S. on-orbit assets.

The Otter spacecraft brings autonomous rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking (RPOD) capabilities. It can dock with a variety of satellites, including those not originally designed for docking. This flexibility supports current and future U.S. Space Force missions without requiring additional configuration changes to the assets.

Col. Joyce Bulson, Director of Servicing, Mobility, and Logistics within SSC’s Assured Access to Space organization, discussed the broad potential of the Otter spacecraft. Beyond enhanced maneuvering, the Otter can assist with station-keeping, life extension, orbital transfer, and eventual orbital disposal, ensuring sustained access to crucial orbital slots and promoting responsible space operations.

Responsive Image

The STRATFI program aims to scale Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) projects by providing additional funds and leveraging private investment. This approach helps transition early research and development efforts into practical, operational capabilities over a four-year period, reducing risks associated with emerging technologies.

Image credit: Starfish Space

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