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Starfish Space Secures AFWERX Contract to Mature Satellite Trajectory Planning Software

Otter Pup

Starfish Space Secures AFWERX Contract to Mature Satellite Trajectory Planning Software

The U.S. Air Force’s AFWERX has awarded Starfish Space a $1.8 million contract to mature the company’s Cephalopod autonomous trajectory planning software designed to enable in-orbit satellite servicing, proximity operations and spacecraft deorbiting missions.

Cephalopod is currently being tested on board the Otter Pup docking spacecraft launched in June on a SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter mission. With the software, Otter Pup will locate the position of Launcher’s SN3 space tug, which was deployed on the same Transporter flight, and dock with it; however, the demo could not continue as planned because Launcher lost communication with SN3, SpaceNews reported.

Cephalopod’s development does not rely on the status of the Otter Pup demo flight. In an email to SpaceNews, Ari Juster, who leads Starfish Space’s strategy and operations, said that while the mission is meant to validate the software, the actual work to mature Cephalopod is taking place on Earth through simulations.

A previous Cephalopod version was flown in 2021 for a refueling demonstration mission of Orbit Fab’s Tanker-001 Tenzing.

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Category: Space

Tags: AFWERX Cephalopod Otter Pup satellite guidance software space SpaceNews Starfish Space US Air Force