Military Embedded Systems

MOSA sensor for cislunar space missions gets green light from AFRL


December 12, 2023

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Pixabay image

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. Pacific Defense signed at Phase II contract worth $9.4 million with the Space Control Technology Branch of the U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) to complete development of a low-size, weight, and power (SWaP) sensor built using modular open systems approach (MOSA) principles in an effort to address the rapidly expanding challenge of space situational awareness (SSA) in the cislunar region (the space between the earth and the moon).

The system, dubbed “Moonraker,” leverages 3U software-defined radio (SDR) and graphics processing unit (GPU) technology together with an open software framework comprised of company and industry-provided SSA applications. The Phase II effort is bulding on the work begun in Phase I. 

Brian Engberg, Chief, Space Control Technology Branch, said of the to-be-built sensor: “This capability will help us achieve a multilayered ability that ensures cislunar space remains a safe and transparent operational environment.”

The Phase II contract has a 39-month period of performance, culminating in the delivery of a flight-qualified sensor for on-orbit demonstration.