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Commercial Solutions for Innovative Space Data Analytics


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms 

OBJECTIVE: This is an AF Special Topic, please see the above AF Special Topic instructions for further details. The objective of this topic is to develop innovative solutions for space data analytics to include data fusion, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. The Air Force needs new innovative approaches to organize data from disparate sources and speeding up data flow in bandwidth constrained environments. Specific areas of interest may include technologies that address the ability for satellites to more seamlessly communicate with each other, the ability to spread real-time computation across a constellation of satellites, the ability to produce indications and warnings from disparate sources, and the ability to fuse seamlessly and intelligently any of these capabilities and prepare for human consumption. This topic will reach companies that can complete a feasibility study and prototype validated concepts in accelerated Phase I and II schedules. A Phase I award will be completed over 3 months with a maximum award of $75K and a Phase II may be awarded for a maximum period of 15 months and $750K. 

DESCRIPTION: The Department of Defense (DoD) relies on data and software capabilities as a critical enabler in executing its mission in space. Current solutions are being sought to advance data analytics for next generation mission concepts for defense space applications. Solutions may include the ability to fuse large scale data and conduct intelligent decision making derived from multiple sources (homogeneous, heterogeneous, or both). Submissions may range from large scale network-based solutions to satellite-based solutions to distributed solutions. User agents may be humans or machines and may include systems that use, augment or facilitate automated networks, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and robotics concepts. Solutions may involve some combination of hardware devices, software, data products, algorithms, or services. One, or a combination of the following capabilities, could include distributed networking, mesh networks, data mining & “scraping”, AI, ML, robotics, and disparate data sources. These solutions need to demonstrate commercial viability to ensure an efficient evolution through development to respond to rapidly evolving technologies. It is not required that all of these capabilities come in one product or solution, but it is necessary that any solution that present space data analytics tools be able to integrate well with other existing and potential solutions. It is also desired that any potential solutions have a linkage to relevant commercial technologies or products that will help to advance the development of products for the warfighter. 

PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study to determine the effectiveness of existing (i.e. commercial) and upcoming (i.e. products expected to be released soon) solution(s) for space data analytics. This feasibility study will include: 1. Which problem area(s) are being addressed by the solutions 2. How they will apply to the US Government’s needs 3. The breadth of applicability of the solution(s) to the US Government 4. Give examples of which government customers would likely be able to utilize the solution(s) 5. The solution(s) should also be evaluated for cost and feasibility of being integrated with current and future complementary solutions 6. How the solution(s) will be able to address potential future changes manned-unmanned challenges 7. The potential to keep pace with technological change due to things such as other non-DoD applications and customer bases for the solution(s) The funds obligated on the resulting Phase I SBIR contracts are to be used for the sole purpose of conducting a thorough feasibility study using interviews, analyses, trade studies, experiments, simulations, and/or component testing. 

PHASE II: Based upon the Phase 1 effort, develop and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution for space data analytics. This demonstration should focus specifically on: 1. A clear and specific government customer that can immediately utilize the solution 2. How the solution differs from any existing technology or product to solve the DoD need (i.e. leverage of new technology or a description of how existing technology and industry best practices has been modified and leveraged in this development) 3. How the solution can leverage continued advances in technology 4. How the demonstrated capability can be used by other DoD customers 

PHASE III: The contractor will pursue commercialization of the various technologies developed in Phase II for transitioning expanded mission capability to a broad range of potential government and civilian users and alternate mission applications. 


1: Merrie, Sanchez. AFSPC Long-Term Science and Technology Challenges, Space and Cyberspace Innovation Summit. Aug 2016.

2:  Erwin, Sandra. Air Force steps up efforts to merge air, cyber and space data. 27 Nov 2017.

KEYWORDS: Data Analytics, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Fusion, Satellite, Big Data 


Gabe Mounce (AFRL/RVS) 

(505) 846-6079 

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