SpaceWorks Announces Award of CRP Phase II SBIR from AFRL to Advance FuseBlox™ Connector for On Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing Applications

ATLANTA, GA, April 28th, 2020. SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. announces the recent award of a Phase II Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) contract to advance the design of our novel FuseBlox™ connector technology that will enable on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing (OOSAM) applications. The contract was awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL-RVSV) through the Commercial Readiness Program (CRP).

“SpaceWorks has the potential to be part of some true technological breakthroughs with this project,” said Lt Andrew Vogel, AFRL customer on the FuseBlox™ project. “I am excited to help in whatever way I can to help see this one through.”

SpaceWorks previously designed, prototyped, and laboratory-tested the FuseBlox™ connector system under a DARPA Phase I/II SBIR program, with a focus on supporting docking and mechanical interconnection between orbiting spacecraft. Once docked, the connector system also offers a power and data transfer capability across the mated interface. The intent of this new award is to raise the Technology Readiness level (TRL) of the FuseBlox™ from the current Level 4 to Level 6.

The new 19-month effort aims to bring the FuseBlox™ connector technology to a ‘flight-ready’ solution. “We are excited to execute on this effort in anticipation of a future flight demonstration for this novel technology,” said Darshan Shah, Program Manager for the effort. “We feel that the FuseBlox™ connector system will open a wealth of possibilities supporting complex missions for customers like the Air Force.”

FuseBlox™ offers improved mission performance by enabling modular spacecraft designs and on-orbit servicing, assembly, and refueling. These new operational models provide greater space-asset resiliency via increasing system redundancy, extending operational lifetimes, and promising lower spacecraft acquisition costs through greater manufacturing and launch efficiencies.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us to advance our technology and bring this capability to the DoD and aerospace industry. We are very pleased to be supporting the Space Vehicle Directorate on this program.” said Dr. John Bradford, Chief Technical Officer at SpaceWorks. “We look forward to seeing our flight hardware on numerous future space missions supporting in-space assembly.”

SpaceWorks Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), based in Atlanta, Ga., specializes in advanced concept development, systems engineering, product development, and economic consulting to enhance engineering design and analysis for a broad and diverse customer base. SpaceWorks is dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in the commercial space sector from early design phases to flight demonstration.

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Public Affairs release approval #AFMC-2020-0216