WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force awarded a $1.45 million contract to Riverside Research to develop software that automates the analysis of data on space objects.
The one-year contract announced last week is for the development of a software tool to help Space Force units characterize and detect objects in the more congested low Earth orbits, said Lt. Matthew O’Rourk, program manager for the DEEP-SDA project, short for Data Exploitation and Enhanced Processing for Space Domain Awareness.
This project is not about collecting more data, but analyzing the data that already exists and is not being put to use, O’Rourk told SpaceNews.
“We’re looking to leverage data that’s being generated by assets that are already on orbit and are currently not being utilized,” he said.
The nonprofit firm Riverside Research — with partners COMSPOC, Spire Global and SciTec Inc. — will develop an algorithm to automate current manual data exploitation techniques and produce more actionable intelligence, O’Rourk said.
For example, data collected by existing star trackers on commercial and government satellites gets discarded because it can’t be analyzed in a timely manner.
A prototype version of the software will be tested by analysts from the specialized Space Force unit that works with commercial space data — known as the Joint Task Force-Space Defense Commercial Operations Cell or JCO.
O’Rourk said the project started about a year ago as the Space Systems Command’s space sensing office identified a need for technologies to fill gaps in space domain awareness of low Earth orbit.
At the end of the project, Riverside Research will deliver a data analytics app that will be made available to all DoD and military users via the Space Force’s Unified Data Library, a marketplace for data and software.
O’Rourk said the new tool should help make greater use of data hosted on the UDL. He said users of space data have…