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Office of Space Commerce Issues 7 Awards for Commercial Space Traffic Coordination Pilot 

By Rachel Jewett | December 7, 2022

Photo: NASA

The Office of Space Commerce (OSC) awarded contracts this week to seven commercial companies for space situational awareness (SSA) data analysis as part of a multi-orbit pilot to evaluate commercial SSA services. COMSPOC Corp., ExoAnalytic Solutions, Kayhan Space, KBR, NorthStar Earth & Space, Slingshot Aerospace and the Space Data Association received contracts for the two-month pilot that started Dec. 5. 

OSC, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), partnered with the Department of Defense to award the contracts. Currently, the DoD provides SSA services, but OSC has been directed to take over these responsibilities by fiscal year 2024. Commercial capabilities will form the core of the new SSA system.

The contracts awarded this week deal with Medium-Earth Orbit (MEO) and Geostationary Orbit (GEO) operations. OSC previously awarded five commercial data contracts for GEO space object tracking data in September 2022 that will also be used to support the pilot project.

“This pilot project helps usher in a new phase in how government and commercial operators work together to coordinate activities on-orbit,” said NOAA Administrator Dr. Rick Spinrad. “NOAA looks forward to continued collaborations that safely enhance the economic and technical potential of the U.S. commercial space sector.”

OSC will evaluate how commercial capabilities support holistic spaceflight safety mission assurance, and the pilot will inform OSC’s future development of operational SSA capabilities which will include Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). This pilot will also involve members of the Space Data Association to collect feedback from commercial satellite operators.