SCOUT Outshines Competitors to Win $1.Phase II STTR from US Space Force

By Sophia Francise

August 18, 2023

SCOUT Space Inc. today announced it has been selected by SpaceWERX for a Phase II STTR in the amount of $1.5M USD 

The funding will focus on “Robust Cross-Domain Optical Navigation with Space-Based Sensors” to address the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF).

SCOUT achieved the Phase II Orbital Prime STTR in collaboration with Stanford University’s Space Rendezvous Laboratory (SLAB), founded and led by Professor Simone D’Amico.

SCOUT will collaborate with SLAB to improve the capabilities of Space Mobility and Logistics by researching the distinction between resolved and non-resolved imaging and attempting to bridge it for space-based sensing.1 

“The characterization of location, motion, and other data of objects in space for space domain awareness requires well-defined processes for processing sensor data. Our work with Prof. D’Amico’s lab is exciting because it lets us tackle an environment – the semi-resolved domain – which is very indeterminate today, and in which few algorithms are proven,” stated Sergio Gallucci, SCOUT’s Co-founder and CTO. 

“We hope to facilitate decision-making across the entire range of rendezvous and proximity operations by achieving continuity and convergence in state estimation from these different phenomenologies,” he added.

“We are poised to increase the technology readiness level of new algorithms at the intersection of astrodynamics, nonlinear estimation, and machine learning to enable new mission concepts in the area of In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM),” stated Prof. Simone D’Amico, SLAB’s Founder and Director. “The US Space Force and SCOUT are giving us a unique opportunity to reach flight readiness with spacecraft navigation technologies that would have normally taken several years to accomplish.”

The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX have collaborated to improve the process of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR).

They have worked together to accelerate the small company experience by shortening proposals to award timelines, thereby changing the pool of potential candidates.

This increases the opportunity for small firms and reduces bureaucratic overhead by adopting continuous process improvement modifications in contract execution. 

In 2018, the DAF launched the Open Topic SBIR/STTR program, which broadened the range of innovations financed by the DAF. Now, SCOUT Space will embark on its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will boost the national defense of the United States of America.

AFWERX is the DAF’s innovation arm and an AFRL directorate that brings cutting-edge American inventiveness from small businesses and start-ups to bear on the DAF’s most pressing problems. 

Since 2019, AFWERX has completed 4,671 contracts totaling more than $2 billion in order to boost the US defense industrial base and accelerate technology transfer to operational capability.


  1. Trisha Navidzadeh, ‘SCOUT Wins $1.5M Phase II STTR from US Space Force’, Scout Space, 10 August 2023,[]