US Air Force selects RSA to improve cislunar space domain awareness

October 21, 2021 (Last Updated October 21st, 2021 12:24)

Cislunar refers to the area between the Earth and the moon.

US Air Force selects RSA to improve cislunar space domain awareness
Under the SBIR Phase II contract, RSA will continue its effort in the development of an improved lunar intelligence (LUNINT) dashboard. Creditt: Rune / Flickr.

The US Air Force (USAF) has contracted Rhea Space Activity (RSA) for the AFWERX programme’s  Phase II small business innovation research (SBIR) award.

Under the SBIR Phase II contract, RSA will continue its effort to develop an improved lunar intelligence (LUNINT) dashboard to support Space Domain Awareness (SDA).

The order is considered an important step for RSA’s SDA programme.

As part of the Phase I effort that has been recently completed, RSA worked directly with the US Space Force (USSF).

In Phase I, the company identified potential national security issues from complex cislunar trajectories entering the geostationary belt of the Earth.

Cislunar refers to the region of space between the Earth and the moon.

Under the Phase II effort, RSA will develop additional capabilities that will inform the operational requirements of the SDA.

RSA founder Shawn Usman said: “This Phase II effort will build upon the completed Phase I to develop the scientific and engineering infrastructure needed to inform operational SDA needs in cislunar space.

“Incorporating full visibility and awareness into the US government is critical when it comes to monitoring spacecraft entering the geostationary belt via cislunar trajectories.”

Purdue University and Saber Astronautics are also supporting RSA in its latest effort.

Purdue University School of Aeronautics and Astronautics professor Kathleen Howell said: “We have designed multi-body trajectories for Nasa missions, and are excited to develop trajectories that aid the USSF in monitoring cislunar space.

“Purdue has a rich history in supporting US missions in all sectors, commercial and government, and particularly lunar missions.”

According to RSA, the new capabilities will also contribute to the commercial space.

Space investor SpaceFund, alongside the US Government, have co-invested in this effort. SpaceFund also directly backs RSA.