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SSC Awards Starfish Space Contract for Otter Satellite Vehicle

SSC Satellite. Credit: SSC

Ibadan, 22 May 2024. – The Space Systems Command (SSC) has awarded Starfish Space a $37.5 million Strategic Funding Increase (STRATFI) contract to build, launch, and operate an Otter satellite vehicle for a docking mission. The mission aims to provide two years of augmented maneuver for National Security Space assets.

The Otter spacecraft will perform autonomous rendezvous, proximity operations, and docking (RPOD), compatible with a wide range of clients, including those that do not have designs or configurations that allow docking. As a result, this capability gives the U.S. Space Force a range of options to support existing assets and allow future assets to receive support without imposing additional configuration requirements. Advancing flexible RPOD capabilities with scalable architectures like the Otter is critical to developing various Space Mobility and Logistics missions supporting the warfighter.

Unique to the Department of the Air Force, the STRATFI program provides additional funds to scale Phase II SBIR efforts to achieve better technology transfer. Likewise, STRATFI’s structure enables it to leverage private capital investment as a matching source of funds, with periods of performance of up to four years, to de-risk the development of emerging technology and transition research and development work into operational capabilities.

Speaking on the contract, Col. Joyce Bulson, Director of Servicing, Mobility, and Logistics within AATS, said, “For a particular class of spacecraft with particular mission sets in GEO, refueling may be the answer to sustaining maneuver; for other systems, augmented maneuver options may be the solution.” The Colonel also added, “There is a wide range of applications for Starfish Space’s Otter in addition to augmented maneuver, such as station-keeping or life extension, orbital transfer, and ultimately orbital disposal which assures access to key orbital slots while demonstrating responsible norms in space.”

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