Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. was awarded a $1.77 million Department of Defense Rapid Innovation Fund contract by the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center for the company’s Software Infrastructure for Automation of Multi-Satellite Systems, or SIAMSS project. “Emergent’s goal for SIAMSS is to deliver reusable Modular Open Systems Architecture-based flight software necessary to perform both single and multi-spacecraft missions such as satellite rendezvous and proximity operations and cluster, formation and constellation flight,” said Dr. George Davis, president and founder of Emergent Space Technologies.
“Emergent shares the Air Force’s vision of a Defense Department space enterprise that benefits from accelerated development cycles by leveraging MOSA approaches for innovative, rapid satellite mission development.” Emergent has been a pioneer in the development of guidance, navigation and control flight software for MSMs since 2011 when development of the Cluster Flight Application software for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)’s Tactical Technology Office System F6 program began. The CFA has been under continuous development and test since that time, additional applications, or “apps”, for fault management, distributed coordinated scheduling, distributed sensor/payload interface and control, and inter-satellite networking being added to the Emergent ecosystem of MSM autonomy software.
According to Dr. Davis, the demand for modular, reusable MSM flight software is strong, with multiple government space projects adopting the software into their baselines, allowing them to achieve greater capability within their respective budgets. “Emergent expects the demand to continue and welcomes the partnership of the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California in transitioning the SIAMSS product and advancing its capabilities and technological readiness,” said Davis. MSMs comprise an ever-expanding portfolio of near-future space systems and operational plans for the Air Force and intelligence community. It is therefore advantageous to support this evolution with suitable reusable software applications. Flexible, portable, and reusable software infrastructure supporting such missions will pay dividends far into the future as customers are relieved of the requirement to channel scarce funding into the development, testing and maintenance of common and redundant software functionality. Instead, funding can flow toward the development of mission-unique capability enhancements and/or additional system deployments. The Rapid Innovation Fund provides a collaborative vehicle for small businesses to provide the Defense Department with innovative technologies that can be rapidly inserted into acquisition programs that meet critical national security needs. RIF is administered by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering (ASD R&E) and Office of Small Business Programs (OSBP). Examples of technology funded through the RIF in the past include a pocket-sized electroencephalogram to test for brain injury while in the field, a handheld device that records aircraft vibration data to help quickly identify component failure and more.