The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded funding to Charles River Analytics (CRA) to develop its augmented reality (AR) application to support the maintenance of space assets.

CRA will use the additional funding to develop its Space Operation Visualizations Leveraging Augmented Reality (SOLAR) app to help improve situational awareness for operators.

The company highlighted the need for advanced software tools to allow operators to accurately track space assets and enable them to support military operations in space.

The entry of several nations in the space domain in the past decade has increased the need for greater importance on monitoring assets for potential threats.

Charles River Analytics Senior Scientist and SOLAR principal investigator Dr Michael Jenkins said: “Operators can make faster and more confident decisions with SOLAR because it fuses proven human-computer interaction technologies with next-gen augmented reality displays.

“SOLAR also offers intuitive visualisations and a workflow-centric graphical user interface. With SOLAR, operators can quickly make sense of outputs from novel AI, machine learning, and other advanced analytic tools developed by both Charles River Analytics and third-party companies.”

The firm developed SOLAR as part of the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s Hallmark programme, an initiative to develop real-time systems and capabilities to meet challenges in space domain awareness.

The objective of the programme is to equip troops with the capability to collect and analyse space situational awareness data to improve decision-making in the space domain.

CRA and its partners developed the PICASSA analytic tool under Hallmark to improve understanding of the space environment.

The tool uses probabilistic modelling and simulation to enhance the detection of threats.

The company will demonstrate the SOLAR app at this year’s Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies (AMOS) Conference in the US.