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DEMISE - DEploy Material Into Space Experiments


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Materials; Sustainment & Logistics; Space Technology


The technology within this topic is restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120-130, which controls the export and import of defense-related material and services, including export of sensitive technical data, or the Export Administration Regulation (EAR), 15 CFR Parts 730-774, which controls dual use items. Offerors must disclose any proposed use of foreign nationals (FNs), their country(ies) of origin, the type of visa or work permit possessed, and the statement of work (SOW) tasks intended for accomplishment by the FN(s) in accordance with the Announcement. Offerors are advised foreign nationals proposed to perform on this topic may be restricted due to the technical data under US Export Control Laws.


OBJECTIVE: This topic seeks to perform concept exploration, prototype development, sub-scale experiments, test and evaluation of technology to standardize containerization of cargo to survive the vacuum of space and deploy material into space.


DESCRIPTION: The AFRL Rocket Cargo Vanguard Program is developing technologies that can deliver large payloads (shipping container sized) around the globe with speed in support of global logistics and the USSF logistics mission sets. The Rocket Cargo Vanguard is responsible for leading a test campaign to enable up to 30 tons of cargo to be delivered anywhere on the planet within tactical timelines. The goal is to demonstrate this speed through integrated demonstrations with the DOD logistics train, including responsive mission planning, rapid cargo logistics and ground launch operations, and coordination with commercial airspace.


The AFRL Rocket Cargo Vanguard Program seeks standardized container technologies that can deploy material into space. Launch vehicles are limited in down-mass capacity during earth re-entry which limits the overall mass of delivered payloads. Commercial shipping containers are not adequately designed to survive exoatmospheric conditions which would allow the container to be separated in space prior to launch vehicle re-entry. The AFRL Rocket Cargo Vanguard Program seeks technologies which will support a container design that will adequately allow payload prolonged exposure in exoatmospheric conditions and re-entry independent of the launch vehicle after the launch vehicle has reached the desired orbit for separation.


The main deliverables will be sub-scale experiments, tests, and demonstrations that advance the operational imperatives.


PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement. This includes determining, insofar as possible, the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of ideas appearing to have commercial potential. It must have validated the product-market fit between the proposed solution and a potential AF stakeholder. The offeror should have defined a clear, immediately actionable plan with the proposed solution and the AF customer. Relevant areas of demonstrated experience and success include: M&S, cost benefit analysis, risk analysis, concept development, concept demonstration and concept evaluation, laboratory experimentation and field testing.


Phase I type efforts should include the assessment of emerging operational imperatives and how they show a measurable value and operational impact. The result of Phase I type efforts is to assess and demonstrate whether commercial systems can support the furtherance of the operational imperatives.


Eligibility for D2P2 is predicated on the offeror having performed a “Phase I-type” effort separate from the SBIR/STTR Programs. These efforts will include M&S, simulation of prototype concepts, cost benefit analysis, system-of-systems studies, experimentation and evaluation of operational imperatives to enable future concepts. Prototypes, M&S and experimentation should explore a wide range of integrating commercial capabilities to support the operational imperatives. These capabilities should consider areas that are unique to military operations, logistics, mission planning, mission execution, base sustainment and logistics.


PHASE II: A goal is for Phase II efforts to conduct sub-scale experiments and provide test articles for further test and demonstration. Experiments should address military-unique requirements that may not be otherwise met by commercial capabilities.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III shall include upgrades to the analysis, M&S, T&E results and provide mature prototypes of system concepts. Phase III shall provide a business plan and address the ability to transition technology and system concepts to commercial applications. The adapted non-Defense commercial solutions shall provide expanded mission capability for a broad range of potential Governmental and civilian users and alternate mission applications. Integration and other technical support to operational users may be required.



  1. Seong-Hyeon, P. "Re-entry analysis of critical components and materials for design-for-demise techniques", ScienceDirect, 2021;


KEYWORDS: Space Container; space environment;

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