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Space Force Kicks Off On-Orbit Servicing Tech Funding Program

1 min read

The U.S. Space Force’s technology innovation arm SpaceWERX is launching a new initiative to provide funding opportunities for on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) companies, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

The military service plans to award multiple Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) contracts under the Orbital Prime initiative to develop technologies for debris removal and satellite refueling and repair, among others.

Teams can compete for funding worth $250,000 during the first round of contracts and $1.5 million in the second round. Strategic financing will be provided to projects provided that companies raise matching funds from private investors.

SpaceWERX seeks to award contracts for the initial phase of the program in early 2022, with a plan to launch an in-orbit demonstration within three years, said Lt. Col. Brian Holt, co-lead of AFWERX Space Prime.

Selected teams will be given access to testing ranges and mentoring on contracting and regulatory requirements.

Gabe Mounce, deputy director of SpaceWERX, estimates that the entire program could be worth as much as $100 million, with funding coming from both the government and private sector.

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