WASHINGTON — Bluestaq announced March 23 it has received a $280 million contract from the U.S. Space Force to expand an existing library of space objects that integrates data from commercial and government sources.

The project, known as the Unified Data Library, or UDL, started in 2018 when Bluestaq — a startup based in Colorado Springs, Colorado — received an Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to develop the concept. The initial goal of the UDL was to provide a single location for data and to help simplify data rights management.

The UDL is a joint initiative of the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center. The cloud-based platform hosts space situational awareness data from dozens of commercial, academic, and government organizations and provides a digital storefront for users of the data.

Air Force leaders have hailed the UDL as a breakthrough that allows commercial space data to be made available to military users. 

In October 2019 Bluestaq received a $37 million to continue the work until 2022 under a Phase 3 SBIR Advanced Command and Control Enterprise Systems and Software contract by the General Services Administration. 

The new two-year, $280 million contract extension is for development and data integration of the UDL through 2024.

The UDL is viewed as a key tool to help ease the transition of space traffic management from the Defense Department to the Department of Commerce. Officials said an “open architecture data repository” that combines military and commercial data will be needed to help identify potential close approaches in orbit. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...