WASHINGTON – The U.S. Space Force has awarded GEOST a $32 million contract modification for prototype space domain awareness payloads which will be hosted on a number of different satellites.

The contract modification is part of a Space Force effort to host small, low-cost sensors on a number of different satellites — owned by either the U.S. government or international partners — in geosynchronous orbit, augmenting the service’s ability to understand what is going on in space.

GEOST — an Arozona-based company that builds small- to medium-sized, electro-optical/infrared sensors —noted in a Dec. 21 statement it is already involved with that effort, having recently completed a critical design review of its payload. The contract modification brings the total value of GEOST’s contract to $39 million.

The Space Force has been working toward placing space domain awareness payloads on satellites owned and operated by international partners for years. In 2020, the service signed an agreement with Japan to put sensor payloads on that country’s Quasi Zenith Satellite System, its satellite navigation system under development. In a separate but similar effort, the Space Force also plans to host U.S. communications payloads on a pair of Norwegian satellites.

GEOST’s sensor payload could be ready for integration and launch as soon as fiscal 2023. The contract includes work on ground support infrastructure, data processing and command and control capability. The company said a production program is expected to follow the prototype demonstration.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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