Private company helps US military monitor the Moon

Saber Astronautics Company has signed an agreement with the US military to develop software that will allow it to monitor orbits around the Moon. The company has already developed its own Space Cockpit product, which allows working with satellite data.

Візуалізація даних, які отримують американські військові
Visualization of data received by the US military. Source: Purdue University/Carolin Frueh

The US military is interested in lunar orbit

On November 10, the US Space Force announced that it had signed a $1.2 million contract with Saber Astronautics. It includes the task of developing software for visualizing ancient spacecraft in lunar and near-lunar orbits.

The U.S. military is very interested in this area because of a possible race with China to see who will be the first to build a base on the Moon. The US space forces suspect that this process will be accompanied by the militarization of high orbits, which no one is scrutinizing.

A key element of the U.S. military’s strategy to ensure tracking of this area is a program to use technologies developed by private companies. Sabre Astronautics was awarded this contract as part of the second phase of this program.

Now, for 15 months, they will be working with experts in astrodynamics at Purdue University on technologies for tracking and predicting the trajectories of satellites moving in the space between the Earth’s orbit and the Moon.

Space Cockpit

Saber Astronautics has extensive experience in creating software for working with spacecraft data. Since 2019, it has been developing the Space Cockpit system. It is a rethinking of the products used by the Australian Space Agency to work with satellites and detect their malfunctions.

According to Jason Held, CEO of Saber Astronautics, Space Cockpit currently has about 2,000 users. This number includes military space operators of the United States and allies, as well as Sabre control equipment on commercial satellites.

“Anyone with a Space Cockpit license and data feed will be able to use the Cislunar tool. These users will have access to a ‘sandbox’ where they can model threats and plan maneuvers in non-standard orbits,” said Held.

The Space Cockpit system receives data from many government and commercial sources. However, the company’s management could not comment on which military or government devices can be accessed through it.

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