DOD SBIR 24.2 Annual

Release Date
April 17th, 2024
Open Date
May 15th, 2024
Due Date(s)
June 12th, 2024
Close Date
June 12th, 2024
Topic No.


Strategic Advancements in Resilient Space Technologies for PWSA Enhancement


Department of DefenseN/A


Type: SBIRPhase: BOTHYear: 2024


The Department of Defense (DOD) is seeking proposals for strategic advancements in resilient space technologies for PWSA enhancement. The objective is to provide novel and innovative technology to bolster the United States Space Force's (USSF) Space Development Agency's (SDA) advancement of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). The technology should fortify space capabilities, ensure resilience against potential attacks, and counter adversaries' advancements in space-based military capabilities targeting terrestrial assets. The research topics include integrating commercially-sensed data into the transport layer, networking, in-space processing, power enhancement for spacecraft buses, and robust multi-level security and cross-domain solutions. The project will have a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) approach, with Phase I feasibility already demonstrated. The proposed solutions in Phase II should align with key focus areas such as advanced space connectivity and integration, enhanced space systems and capabilities, next-generation hardware and security measures, precision timing and spaceborne clock technologies, and radio frequency space data transport solutions. Successful Phase II proposals will lead to comprehensive end-to-end capability demonstrations in operational laboratory environments, followed by field testing and limited production. Phase III will focus on transitioning the technology for operational integration within the Space Force and exploring its dual-use potential for military and commercial applications. The project duration is not specified, and funding details can be found on the solicitation agency's website.




OBJECTIVE: Provide novel and innovative new technology to bolster the United States Space Force (USSF) Space Development Agency's (SDA) advancement of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). SDA seeks proposals encompassing novel mission, system, value and warfighting engineering concepts, technologies, and capabilities which facilitate leap-ahead improvements for planned PWSA segments, layers and tranches or enable the creation of new missions and capabilities to address emerging warfighter needs. This effort aligns with the imperative to fortify space capabilities, ensuring their resilience against potential attacks, and to counter adversaries' advancements in space-based military capabilities targeting terrestrial assets, especially high-value power projection assets.


DESCRIPTION: SDA is actively seeking innovative proposals to advance the PWSA and create additional capability for the warfighter while maintaining affordability and resilience across the architecture. This call encompasses a wide array of themes, ranging from integrating commercially-sensed data into the transport layer by advancing SDA-standard compatible Optical Inter-Satellite Link (OISL) technologies, to networking, in-space processing, power enhancement for commoditized spacecraft buses, and robust multi-level security and cross domain solutions. These themes aim to drive advancements in affordability, capability, viability and interoperability. The goal is to bolster the resilience and capabilities of space assets while enabling new layers of capabilities to address evolving warfighter needs in a dynamic and challenging space environment.


PHASE I: As this is a Direct-to-Phase-II (D2P2) topic, no Phase I awards will be made as a result of this topic. To qualify for this D2P2 topic, the Government expects the applicant(s) to demonstrate feasibility by means of a prior “Phase I-type” effort that does not constitute work undertaken as part of a prior or ongoing SBIR/STTR funding agreement. This phase should thoroughly assess scientific and technical merit while establishing the feasibility of ideas with commercial potential. The applicant(s) must validate the product-market fit between the proposed solution and the warfighting customer, identifying potential end-users within the Department of Defense and exploring integration feasibility and costs with current mission-specific products. The documentation presented should encompass technical reports, test data, prototype designs/models, and achieved performance results aligned with the minimum technical and scientific merit outlined in the description. The prior work demonstrating feasibility must have been substantially performed by the applicant(s) and/or the Principal Investigator.


PHASE II: The proposed D2P2 solution strategically aligns with key focus areas aimed at advancing affordable, resilient, interoperable technologies inherent or required within the PWSA. This effort to enhance space capabilities comes in response to the nation's growing reliance on space infrastructure while advancing critical services provided to joint forces, enabling truly global joint warfighting operations and all domain command and control. The D2P2 initiative is designed to address these challenges by focusing on key strategic areas:

Advanced Space Connectivity and Integration: This encompasses the integration of commercially-sensed data into the transport layer for the benefit of the warfighter at the tactical edge while developing advanced Optical Inter-Satellite Link (OISL) components and technologies to reduce SWaP-C, mitigate atmospheric effects, and provide all optical routing to enhance connectivity between space vehicles and/or domain agnostic terrestrial users.
Enhanced Space Systems and Capabilities: This involves advancing the development and application of cyber solutions, networking technologies, in-space processing capabilities, power enhancement for commoditized space vehicle buses, and generic BMC3 hardware and middleware solutions to bolster the overall resilience and capabilities of space systems. Of particular interest are capabilities and technologies whose application would lower the overall data latency associated with moving time critical information from point of creation to point of employment on operationally relevant timelines.
Next-Generation Hardware and Security Measures: The focus here is on implementing seamless multi-level security, small SWaP-C cryptography, affordable cross-domain solutions, and related data and information protection measures to safeguard space assets and operations from potential threats and/or compromise.
Precision Timing and Spaceborne Clock Technologies: Addressing the crucial need for high-performance, low SWaP-C clocks for space, ensuring precise timekeeping in satellite operations and supporting PNT while avoiding the need for major user terminal recapitalization. This concerted effort aims to leverage previous feasibility demonstrations, driving innovative solutions that significantly augment existing PNT solutions and require minimal user resource application for success.
Radio Frequency Space Data Transport Solutions: Advanced hardware, software and/or firmware solutions for commoditized space vehicles across UHF, L, S, and Ka bands with multi-band transceivers for ground, sea, air, high altitude and sub-orbital platforms. Of particular interest are high duty cycle, low SWaP-C transceiver solutions enabling multi-user, multi-band operations from a single vehicle or set of cross-linked interoperable vehicles.


Successful Phase-II proposals within these strategic areas will culminate in comprehensive end-to-end capability demonstrations in relevant operational laboratory environments. Such demonstrations should substantially improve the Technical Readiness Level(s) of any developing technologies. Subsequently, initial field testing may be conducted to confirm the readiness of proposed capabilities for limited production and operational deployment, aligning with the imperative to enhance the warfighting capability of the joint force.


PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: The Phase III transition plan for this initiative involves advancing the technology developed in Phase II towards operational integration, emphasizing its dual-use potential for both military and commercial applications. Building on the proven capabilities and advancements achieved in Phase II, Phase III focuses on refining the technology for seamless integration into operational environments within the Space Force while exploring its applications in commercial sectors. Rigorous testing, validation, and evaluations are conducted to ensure the technology's readiness for integration into established Space Force systems while simultaneously identifying commercial use cases and potential markets. Engagement with government transition programs and commercial stakeholders is pivotal to facilitate the technology's seamless integration across both defense and civilian domains. The overarching objective of Phase III is to transition the technology into operational use within the Space Force, ensuring enhanced security, resilience, and operational efficiency for space-based architectures while exploring its potential for broader commercial utilization.




KEYWORDS: Cryptography; Networking; Resilience; Interoperability; Affordability; Mission; Warfighting


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