U.S. Space Force SMC Awards ASTRA EO/IR Mission to Support U.S. Warfighter


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The U.S. Space Force's (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has selected ASTRA, LLC to develop and demonstrate an Electro-Optical / Infrared (EO/IR) LEO-based cloud characterization solution that supports U.S. warfighter operations.

Striving to bridge gaps and improve functionality of Space-Based Environmental Monitoring (SBEM) systems, USSF SMC sought a commercial prototype EO/IR Weather System (EWS) mission capable of characterizing global clouds in near real-time to support Department of Defense operations.

"An industry leader in space science technology and research, ASTRA is proud to be chosen by the U.S. Space Force to provide our Rapid Revisit Optical Cloud Imager (RROCI) system to deliver near-real time cloud characterization data in support of the warfighter," says Bill Baker, ASTRA Sr. Vice President of Data Solutions.  

SMC selected ASTRA, in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, Science and Technology Corporation, Pumpkin Inc., and Atmospheric & Environmental Research (AER), for the first phase of the EWS mission to design, develop, and demonstrate its 8-channel RROCI prototype. ASTRA's imager will utilize commercial off-the-shelf systems to produce cloud characterization, mitigate weather risk, provide theater weather, and comparison of payload outputs to existing satellite data from a 12U satellite that meets USSF mission requirements.

"USSF SMC seeks an agile, cost-effective technology to provide timely, mission-critical information to the warfighter – ASTRA's proposed prototype will achieve this," explains Dr. Scott Jensen, the project's principal investigator and ASTRA Sr. Vice President for Technology. "Our solution assures easy implementation and rapid refresh of new technology into the architecture as required, and will meet both government and commercial SBEM requirements."

ASTRA's proposed solution will provide a cost-effective and agile demonstration mission, reducing risk and demonstrating readily available commercial technology that meets USSF's required operational mission capabilities.

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