WASHINGTON — Cognitive Space, a startup based in Houston, Texas, announced Nov. 8 it won a $1.2 million contract extension to continue development of the company’s satellite tasking software for the Air Force Research Laboratory.

The contract is a Small Business Innovation Research agreement known as a TACFI, or Tactical Funding Increase. The Air Force uses the company’s Cognitive Inference Tasking (CNTIENT) software tool to prototype a hybrid architecture of government and commercial remote-sensing satellites. 

Cognitive Space in 2020 won a $1.5 million SBIR Phase 2 contract for the artificial intelligence-driven software. The $1.2 million TACFI deal includes both government and private funding, and extends the work for two more years. 

The new contract funds the development of a tailored version of CNTIENT for dynamic satellite scheduling on a cloud platform.

Cognitive Space said the CNTIENT platform is used both by commercial and government space operators to “optimize and tailor remote sensing mission planning, automate payload scheduling and prioritize tasking.”

The machine learning-based software will help the Air Force to automate the command and control of its satellites, said the company, and conduct experiments in both virtual and operational settings.

Cognitive Space also announced a new SBIR Phase 1 contract from the Space Development Agency to develop intelligent space mesh network routing algorithms and study hardware solutions for low Earth orbit communications.

SDA plans to field a low-latency data transport integrated with tactical data links, to track advanced missile threats, as well as land and maritime targets. For this contract Cognitive Space is partnering with the Southwest Research Institute.

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...