DOD SBIR 24.4 Annual

Release Date
October 3rd, 2023
Open Date
October 3rd, 2023
Due Date(s)
March 31st, 2025
Close Date
March 31st, 2025
Topic No.


Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) Advanced Capability Development Open Topic


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) Advanced Capability Development Open Topic. The Space Development Agency (SDA) is looking for novel architecture concepts, systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable leap-ahead improvements for future tranches of currently planned PWSA capability layers or address emerging warfighter needs. The research areas include trusted AI and autonomy, advanced computing and software, integrated sensing and cyber, hypersonics, microelectronics, integrated network systems-of-systems, space technology, renewable energy generation and storage, advanced infrastructure, and advanced manufacturing. The solicitation is open for Phase II proposals only, and proposers must demonstrate the scientific and technical merit and feasibility of their projects. The research will support the development of the PWSA, a resilient military sensing and data transport capability in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The solicitation provides specific themes and focus areas for potential deliverables, such as integrating commercial sensing to the transport layer, developing optical inter-satellite link (OISL) technology, advancing cyber and networking capabilities, and increasing power for spacecraft bus. The Phase III applications of the research include improving low Earth orbit communication systems and space-based processing for effective distribution of sensor data. The proposal submission deadline is March 31, 2025. For more information and to access the proposal template, visit the DOD SBIR website.


OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Trusted AI and Autonomy; Advanced Computing and Software; Integrated Sensing and Cyber; Hypersonics; Microelectronics; Integrated Network Systems-of-Systems; Space Technology; Renewable Energy Generation and Storage; Advanced Infrastructure & Advanced Manufacturing


OBJECTIVE: Provide novel and innovative new technology supporting the USSF Space Development Agency continued development of the PWSA (Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture).  – The Space Development Agency (SDA) is soliciting proposals for novel architecture concepts, systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable leap-ahead improvements for future tranches of currently planned PWSA (Proliferated Warfare Space Architecture) capability layers, or, enable new capability layers to address other emerging or evolving warfighter needs.


IMPORTANT: For SDA DP2 proposal template, please click here or visit Go to the bottom of the page and click “Supporting Documents and Attachments”, then SDA DP2 Proposal Template – Vol 2


DESCRIPTION: SDA is responsible for defining and monitoring the Department’s future threat-driven space architecture and accelerating the development and fielding of new military space capabilities necessary to ensure U.S. technological and military advantage in space for national defense. To achieve this mission, SDA is responsible for unifying and integrating next- generation space capabilities to deliver the Proliferated Warfare Space Architecture (PWSA), a resilient military sensing and data transport capability via a proliferated space architecture in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). SDA will not necessarily develop and field all capabilities of the PWSA but rather orchestrate those efforts across DoD and fill in gaps in capabilities while providing the integrated architecture.


PHASE I: This topic is accepting Direct to Phase II proposals ONLY. Proposers must provide documentation to substantiate that scientific and technical merit and feasibility of their proposed project.  Including references and/or documentation in their proposal demonstrating the technology is ready for the Phase II stage of development.  If the small business has performed the Phase I stage-type of research through other funding sources or with their own independent research and development funding and show adequate feasibility with existing research, models, analysis, test or verification, that supports a Direct-to-Phase II award.  This allows a small business that has already built a technology prototype and tested its feasibility (i.e. completed Phase-I- type R&D) to move directly into a Phase-II-type R&D.  The Direct-to-Phase-II SBIR mechanism eliminates the need for the Small Business Concerns to propose or submit additional small feasibility studies.


PHASE II:  SDA has multiple themes and will look at work throughout each of these open topic focus areas.  Please review and submit proposals that are based on your best skills, experience and capability to deliver innovative technology to support the SDA mission.

Theme 1:  Integrate Commercial Sensing to Transport Layer

		Support integration of crosslinks into commercial space sensing
		Potential Deliverables:
				On orbit demonstration of commercial data crosslinking directly to SDA Transport Layer
				BMC3 on-orbit software application
				Demonstration of space-to-space transfer of PWSA Transport timing and positioning to inform and enhance PNT capabilities of commercial space sensing missions.
		Must maintain conformance to existing SDA RF and optical standards.

Theme 2:  Develop OISL Technology and Industrial Base

Focus Area 1:  Photonic Integrated Circuit (PIC) technology

		Potential Deliverables: Packaged modem and amplifier, SDA-compatible

Focus Area 2:  Low SWaP OISL user terminal for space, air, maritime or ground, asymmetric solutions, such as a modulated retroreflector, that minimize SWaP burden on spacecraft, SDA interoperable
		Potential Deliverables:  EDU, automation of OCT – reduce dependency on satellite bus (give power, data, pointing vector)

Focus area 3: OCT components and subsystems to reduce SWaP
		Potential deliverables: Lasers and optical amplifiers (EDFA, SOA, high power, low noise), increased sensitivity optical detectors

Focus area 4: Technologies to mitigate atmospheric effects of an optical ground station
		Potential deliverables: Technologies to simplify or eliminate adaptive optics, devices to couple light into single mode fiber for space-to-ground, ground telescope arrays, reducing atmospheric effects on ground-to-space uplink 

Focus area 5: Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT)
		Deliverables: technologies to achieve sub-nanosecond time transfer, integration of PNT calculations into the OCT as an intrinsic capability

Focus area 6: All-optical routing / networking
		Deliverables: optical amplifiers, optical ROADM and related technologies to demonstrate multi-hop routing of data in the optical domain

Focus Area 7:  Transportable Lasercom Ground Station
		Transportable lasercom ground station, fits within ISO shipping container volume
		Potential Deliverables
		Prototype ground terminal
		Interoperable with SDA, eventually SpaceBACN
		Tested with SDA space assets
		Ground modems compliant with SDA standard
		Provides time transfer to user applications

Focus Area 8:  Non-mechanical beam steering
		Potential Deliverables:  Low reaction-mass gimbal, SDA-compatible

Theme 3:  Cyber

		Advanced encryption technology
		Higher throughput

		Cross domain solution in space
		Potential Deliverables:  Brass board prototype

Theme 4:  Networking
		High throughput packet router in space
		Potential Deliverables:  Router prototype, ground test

Theme 5:  In-Space Processing
		Flexible on-orbit processing for sensor fusion
		Use of artificial intelligence and machine learning 
		Potential Deliverables:  Prototype cards ready for integration
		On-orbit lightweight, distributed, geospatially-enabled database--to maintain near-real time structured or unstructured data on heterogenous processing platforms
		Potential Deliverable:  new or existing modified database technology

Theme 6:  Increase Power for Spacecraft Bus
		Double the power capability for SDA sized buses
		Potential Deliverables:  Engineering architectures, brass board prototypes

Theme 7: Generic BMC3 hardware and middleware solutions providing varieties of compute capabilities
		BMC3 Modules in space

Image and/or Signal processing 
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML) 
Parallel processing
Multi-INT fusion – Multi-Hypothesis Tracking/Increased Tracking Sensor Mix/Tracking problems
CDS in space – MLS (multi-level security), ingesting commercial ISR data into the PWSA to transport data
Distributed Database/Storage Nodes
Translator / Firewall Router - extending National vs. commercial capabilities
Application specific implementation of Cloud solutions

Theme 8: Seamless multi-level security (MLS)

		Robust MLS solution(s) to protect and defend SDA’s proliferated architecture operations across heterogeneous platforms, multiple warfighting domains, and at multiple levels of security
		Potential Deliverables: 

		Prototype cards ready for on-orbit MLS processing

Theme 9: High performance, low size, mass, and power clocks for space
		Advancement of clocks and frequency sources for space-based timekeeping in proliferated LEO space vehicles maintaining synchronization of < 100 ns / day and using no more than 3 W of power. 

		Candidate clocks proven at TRL6 and clearly demonstrate manufacturing readiness for incorporation into LEO space vehicles by 2028

		Potential Deliverables:

		Clock and frequency system ready for risk reduction space-based test by 2026


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: Phase III work can apply to providing proliferated low earth orbit communication systems and space based pocessing that allows the effective and efficient distribution of overhead sensor data.  Improving the industrial base to provide more effective optical satellite communications, with more power for the satellite bus and high performance clocks will enhance Phase III development.




KEYWORDS: Space Platforms; Space Systems; Space Sensors; On-orbit processing; optical inter-satellite links; position, navigation and timing; MLS (Multi-Level Security); Effective Space Power Systems; High performance clocks for space

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