During the event, the Space Force office for Science, Technology and Research came together with 27 universities and industry leaders to discuss how the service plans to address several areas of interest to the nation. Collectively, the group defined key areas for science and technology growth over the next decade via the creation of three Strategic Technology Institutes (STIs).
These Institutes can comprise a combination of universities, industry and non-profit organizations from around the country, pooling their collective expertise, to enhance space capabilities. The first of these STIs are:
- xGEO and Space Domain Awareness STI – The focus will be on technologies needed to ensure safe, sustainable worldwide opportunity and growth in the region of space beyond geosynchronous orbits.
- In-space Servicing and Manufacturing STI – The focus will be on in-space capabilities including but not limited to servicing (inspection, life extension, repair, or alteration of a spacecraft, rendezvous, proximity operations, docking, refueling, or repositioning), assembly (in-space construction using pre-manufactured components); and manufacturing (in-space transformation of raw or recycled materials into products).
- Advanced Remote Sensing STI – The focus will be on sensing capabilities that enable greater situational awareness via novel phenomenologies, techniques, hardware, and software, while increasing accuracy and reducing in-space size weight and power requirements
The symposium also brought together several small businesses and startups to have a robust conversation with universities. These conversations centered on research requirements, student workforce preparedness, and technology transfer. Technology transfer to industry, programs of records, or other government partners is the ultimate goal of each STI.
The Space Force plans to openly and competitively solicit a request for proposals addressing these STIs in March of 2023, with the proposals due by April 2023. The proposals that are selected by the Space Force would be announced as early as June.
The next UC Symposium is expected to cover the current status of these efforts and will be held in late March. Dates and location will be announced in January 2023.