Starfish Space announced today that it has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contract by NASA to study an orbital debris inspection mission. This contract leverages Starfish’s previous and existing NASA SBIR efforts to develop a mission concept study for an orbital debris inspection mission.
Under this new contract, Starfish will assess the feasibility of using its Otter satellite servicing vehicle to rendezvous with, approach, and characterize large pieces of space debris. The Otter servicing vehicle hosts multiple Starfish technologies that are required to enable debris removal missions, including CETACEAN relative navigation software and CEPHALOPOD autonomous guidance software. Both of these software technologies are currently on-orbit for testing and validation as part of Starfish’s Otter Pup demonstration mission, launched in June of this year.
The contract comes at a time when both NASA and the U.S. government are intensifying efforts for sustainable space operations including the growing issue of orbital debris. This commitment is evidenced by NASA’s formation of COSMIC (COnsortium for Space Mobility and ISAM Capabilities), a national alliance focused on enhancing domestic capabilities in in-space servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (ISAM).
This latest contract is the fourth awarded to Starfish by NASA and marks a significant milestone in the partnership between the two organizations. Dr. Trevor Bennett, Co-Founder of Starfish Space, expressed enthusiasm about the ongoing collaboration, stating, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with NASA through this award, and look forward to demonstrating Otter’s ability to effectively conduct debris mitigation missions affordably and at scale.”
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About Starfish Space
Starfish Space is developing the Otter servicing vehicle to extend the lives of satellites in geostationary orbit and dispose of space debris in low-Earth orbit. Starfish has been recognized by NSIC, NASA, the U.S. Space Force, and Air Force Research Laboratory for its innovation in satellite servicing technologies and has raised over $22 million in venture capital funding to date. Starfish Space launched its Otter Pup demonstration mission in June 2023, with the goal of executing the first-ever docking of two commercial satellites in low-Earth orbit. For more information, please visit starfishspace.com.