The US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has awarded a contract to analytics company Slingshot Aerospace to provide an artificial intelligence (AI) solution for next-generation space situational awareness and enterprise space battle management.

Under the $6m contract, Slingshot Aerospace will prototype and deploy machine learning capabilities to augment a range of enterprise space battle management mission needs.

Slingshot will use its multi-domain toolset known as Orbital Atlas to enable troops to move away from traditional space situational awareness focusing on space catalogue maintenance.

The predictive space situational awareness toolset will deliver a tactical, predictive, and evidence-driven solution.

SMC’s Space Superiority Systems Directorate exercised the 2019 contract option and expanded the value over a two-year period of performance.

“The system characterises patterns and predicts events to enable troops, analysts, and decision-makers to respond swiftly and make improved decisions.”

According to SpaceNews, Slingshot will provide a customised version of the Orbital Atlas software for possible military use.

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The publication reported that Orbital Atlas will undergo testing in the US at the Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), California, and the Schriever AFB, Colorado.

SMC intends to leverage AI and Cloud computing to augment conventional space mission areas. The centre is using various contracting methods to tap these capabilities.

Orbital Atlas gives information about space objects that orbit the Earth. The software uses a predictive modelling engine that applies machine learning to space observation data and other contextual data streams.

The system characterises patterns and predicts events to enable troops, analysts, and decision-makers to respond swiftly and make improved decisions.

Slingshot is also planning to equip Orbital Atlas with geospatial intelligence in the future to give information about events on the ground such as missile launch to space operators, SpaceNews added.