Lunar Resources, Inc. of Houston, Texas and Rhea Space Activity (RSA), a Washington, DC, ‘New Space’ industry consultancy, have been selected by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to further develop their innovative new concept for the deployment of a variety of defense-focused, space-based, orbital platforms.
A research project jointly developed by Lunar Resources and RSA was recently selected for funding by the USAF under its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which identifies and selects startups capable of addressing 21st Century-and-beyond national security challenges. Under this project, which has been named “IN-SILICO” by both companies, Lunar Resources and RSA are proposing the development of a new supply chain architecture model that is focused on the construction of Department of Defense (DoD) equipment and platforms in-space, primarily to reduce the overall deployment costs of a variety of national security-focused space-based assets, and to optimize the performance of the US space fleet for future orbital communication and reconnaissance.
In furtherance of this development project, Lunar Resources and Rhea Space Activity will apply the technologies derived from the IN-SILICO program to advance Department of Defense and Intelligence Community (IC) priorities for space-based reconnaissance, telecommunication, and directed energy.
The IN-SILICO program is one of the selectees to be participating in the greatly anticipated, first-of-its-kind USAF “Space Pitch Day,” which will take place in San Francisco on November 5-6, 2019.
Lunar Resources is considered to be one of the leading companies involved in developing in-space manufacturing technology. Comprised of members of NASA’s former Wake Shield Facility program team, Lunar Resources is a technology leader in the in-space vacuum deposition field, having pioneered a highly versatile technology that fabricates performance coatings and thin film materials for direct use in a variety of space environments. This in-space vacuum deposition technology will enable the manufacturing of a variety of materials including solar cells, mirror coatings and antennas, all of which can be built out of the confines of the Earth’s atmosphere.
Lunar Resources CEO Elliot Carol welcomed the encouragement and confidence of the USAF: “Lunar Resources is very grateful to have the support of the Air Force, which has the unique, rarified experience and expertise we need to quickly demonstrate and deploy our technology enabling in-space manufacturing and on-orbit repair of DoD space assets.”
RSA founder and former U.S. government scientist Shawn Usman remarked, “The ability to reliably fabricate functional materials in space will usher in a new era of more sophisticated and more functional space-borne, surveillance, intelligence, communications and navigational devices – devices that will not be burdened by orbital placement via propulsion-driven delivery systems. These new devices will prove their worth as they are deposited on significantly larger space assets than is now possible, and I expect this to be a revolutionary technology for the intelligence community, the USAF, and the greater DoD structure.”