Space Micro awarded Air Force contract to enhance space camera for DoD satellite applications


San Diego, CA – February 3, 2020

The U.S. Air Force, through its AFWERX program, has awarded Space Micro Inc. a Phase I SBIR contract to enhance its current 5MP Space Camera for new Space Force spacecraft, including SmallSats and CubeSats. The contract, “Dual use advanced radiation hard space imaging cameras”, requires Space Micro to assess future DoD requirements for space imaging for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Space Situational Awareness (SSA).

Space Micro's 5MP Space Camera is based on a low read noise scientific CMOS (sCMOS) sensor, which allows the camera to detect smaller contrast differences. The camera’s integrated central processor provides users with dual ARM Cortex-A9 cores and over 400,000 FPGA gates. The 5MP Space Camera's main data interface is SpaceWire with options such as Camera Link also available. The flexible design allows users to either use one of Space Micro’s standard or customized lens assemblies or install their own optics. The 5MP Space Camera is also capable of providing extremely accurate estimates of spacecraft orientation by stellar observation. With ample memory for star catalogs, this feature allows rapid determination of non-stellar space objects and the system can output attitude and rate information at high speed.

“We are pleased to enter into this fast-paced contract with AFWERX and assess imaging payload needs that will support space programs and missions for various DoD agencies including Air Force SMC, the MDA, Navy SPAWAR, DARPA, Army SMDC, SOCOM, DIU, AFRL, and NRL,” said David J. Strobel, Space Micro CEO. “The Air Force can highly leverage commercial and IR&D investments in our dual-use space camera. Space Micro is also observing a new demand for U.S. domestic sourcing of space subsystems for certain U.S. Government agencies and programs.”