DOD Space University Research Initiative

Sponsor Deadline: 

Jun 16, 2021


Dept of Defense Air Force Office of Scientific Research

UI Contact: 

DOD  Space University Research Initiative
White papers must be received by April 28, 2021 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time to be considered. White paper evaluation is meant to initially assess the capability of a proposed effort and is NOT a selection process.
Proposals must be received electronically through by June 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM Eastern Time to be considered.

     This is a special Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) in support of the research objectives the Department of Defense  Space University Research Initiative (SURI), sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). DOD’s SURI program is focused on directing basic research toward applications that meet US Space Force (USSF) needs and challenges. The program was initiated as a pilot to foster engagements between various DoD agencies and the academic community in a developing USSF University Consortium, with the goal of improving the transition of critical concepts from the academic sector into revolutionary new military technologies. Key to the program’s success is the close management of the SURI projects by DoD agency program officers, and their role in providing research guidance and supporting transition of research products into DoD applications. 
      The SURI program is intended to support basic and applied research in Space-related science and engineering at U.S. institutions of higher education (hereafter referred to as "universities"), with potential transition to critical applications of DoD interest. As such, SURI differs from the Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) that is funded by DoD basic research funds for basic research products. SURI is co-funded by applied research dollars, and thus expands the scope of work to include science and technology development. The SURI program supports multidisciplinary research efforts, ideally creating synergies to speed DoD-relevant research and development.

Topic 1: Space Logistics and Mobility
Research Concentration areas may include: 1.Robotics for spacecraft: controls and path planning for increasing ‘N’ degree-of-freedom (DOF) concepts (soft robotics may have up to effectively infinite DOF) and methodologies for end effectors to interact with other robotics or spacecraft   2.Autonomous operations that support human removed or human-on-the-loop operations   3.Augmented reporting and displays for presenting OSAM functions   4.Novel material approaches that enable long term logistic operations in a space environment   5.Effective strategies to quantifiably evaluate State-of-Health and robustly assess remaining lifetime of chemical and/or EP thrusters. 6.Modular spacecraft or on-orbit swappable units that can be used to build/repair/upgrade or modify a spacecraft on orbit   7.Development of digital twins to accurately model spacecraft, orbits, controls and task planning for logistics related activities   8.Consideration for other s/c systems that could impact a future space logistics model including: Power, thermal management, structures, electronics and electromagnetic apertures and sensors.

Topic 2: Space Domain Awareness   Research Concentration areas may include:   1.Novel sensor phenomenology and algorithms to provide timely comprehensive health, status and capabilities of non-cooperative satellites and their subsystems    2.Characterization techniques that go beyond light curves or standard imagery    3.Sensors and algorithms for XGEO object detection, data association, uncertainty quantification, orbit determination, maneuver detection, or other related topics    4.Sensors that can provide actionable data regardless of environmental conditions    5.Low-cost rapidly fabricated sensors that can provide proliferated, pervasive monitoring    6.Satellite autonomy for monitoring, reporting, and responding as SDA is achieved    7.Constellation level autonomy and construct planning update with SDA8.Data fusion and decision making tools