Military Embedded Systems

COTS EO/IR monitoring solution supporting U.S. warfighters contracted by Space Force


July 28, 2020

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

NASA/GSFC/Jeff Schmaltz/MODIS Land Rapid Response Team

LOUISVILLE, Colo. Small-satellite company ASTRA [Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates] has won a contract from the U.S. Space Force's (USSF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to develop and demonstrate an electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor-driven low Earth orbit (LEO)-based cloud characterization solution using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) technology to support U.S. warfighter operations.

In response to the USSF SMC's call for a prototype EO/IR weather system (EWS) mission capable of characterizing global clouds in near real-time to support Department of Defense (DoD) operations, ASTRA officials say that its imaging system will use COTS technology to perform cloud characterization, mitigate weather risk, assess theater weather, and compare payload outputs to existing satellite data from a 12U satellite that meets USSF mission requirements.

Dr. Scott Jensen, the project's principal investigator and ASTRA senior vice president for technology, says of the win: "USSF SMC seeks an agile, cost-effective technology to provide timely, mission-critical information to the warfighter -- ASTRA's proposed prototype will achieve this. 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."


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