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  • Laurence Russell

Sidus Space awarded new contract for next phase of NASA Astra project

Sidus Space, Inc., a Space-as-a-Service satellite company focused on commercial satellite design, manufacture, launch, and space-based data collection, was awarded a follow-on agreement for the next phase of NASA’s Autonomous Satellite Technology for Resilient Applications (ASTRA) project.


During this phase of the ASTRA project, the Autonomous Systems Lab (ASL) team at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, will join Sidus Space to integrate ASTRA’s autonomous operational on-orbit capabilities on a Sidus-built LizzieSat satellite as the organizations transition to the operational phase of the program. LizzieSat is set to benefit from cutting-edge autonomous operational capabilities that will offer actionable guidance for optimizing its performance, enabling timely maintenance, and more.


With the follow-on agreement, Sidus will support development of a NASA Stennis’ communication center – the ASTRA Payload Operations Control Center (POCC) at the south Mississippi center. The SSC ASTRA communications POCC will tightly integrate with the Sidus Mission Operations Center (MOC) in Cape Canaveral during on-orbit operations.


“We are excited to support the development of the POCC as part of the NASA ASTRA payload mission on LizzieSat,” said John Curry, Sidus’ Chief Mission Operations Officer. “The POCC will monitor and control day-to-day activities between LizzieSat and NASA’s ASTRA payload operations, utilizing proven NASA operations architectures to greatly enhance our mission success and performance.”


Previously, Sidus was awarded a contract to integrate, and demonstrate for the first time, Mars Campaign Development (MCD) Division (formerly Advanced Exploration Systems)-derived autonomous operations in a spaceflight environment. The demonstration expects to provide the necessary flight heritage for an autonomous system development platform that could be used on future deep space missions.


LizzieSat-1, currently manifested to launch in 2023, intends to validate the MCD-developed autonomy software (NPAS-NASA Platform for Autonomous Systems) through on-orbit testing. The testing expects to evaluate the autonomous operation of the satellite imaging functions, assess the performance and behavior of the spacecraft power systems, and support the development, integration, testing, and operations of critical technologies for current and future Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (formerly Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate) missions.

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