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TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Space Platforms 

OBJECTIVE: This is an AF Special Topic in partnership with MD5, please see the AF Special Topic instructions for further details specifically for requirements related to MD5 programs and services and this topic. The objective of this topic is to develop innovative systems or prototypes that address the capability to secure superiority in space. Pursuant to the 2018 National Defense Strategy and the FY19 Posture Statement, the USAF’s current focuses in the space domain include jam-resistant GPS satellites, improved missile warning, improved space situational awareness, launch service solutions, improved communication capabilities, and defense of vital assets in orbit. 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. Companies whose proposals are selected for award under the MD5 Special Topics will need to have participated in an MD5 program or service, or in another technology acceleration program, prior to the completion of the proposed Phase I SBIR project as noted in the AF Special Topic instructions. 

DESCRIPTION: Often characterized as the “ultimate high ground,” superiority in the space domain is crucial for the conduct of joint force operations. Integrated solutions in low Earth orbit (LEO) can lead to increased safety and vital protection of assets as space becomes increasingly contested, degraded, and operationally limited. Solutions that can be deployed in LEO are becoming more interesting as the market in LEO continues to grow and accessibility increases. Therefore, the Air Force has prioritized the development of capabilities that can secure space superiority and ensure freedom of operations. Such capabilities include jam-resistant GPS satellites, enhanced missile warnings, improved space situational awareness, launch service solutions, improved communication capabilities and defense of assets in space. Proposals must leverage the benefits of LEO operations and have a potential dual-use (defense and commercial) functionality. 

PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study to determine the effectiveness of potential or existing solution(s) for one or more of the space challenges. This feasibility study should directly address: 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: Develop and demonstrate a prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study on space challenges. 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 has been modified) 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. Joint Publication 3-14: Space Operations. April 10, 2018; 2. Air Force Space Command Fact Sheet,; 3. Air Force Posture Statement. Fiscal Year 2019.

KEYWORDS: Space, Space Superiority, Satellite, GPS, Missile Warning, Low Earth Orbit, LEO 

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