WASHINGTON — KBR, a Defense Department and NASA contractor, won a $24.9 million contract to provide insights on the behavior of objects in nontraditional orbits. 

Under the five-year contract, awarded by the Air Force Research Laboratory, KBR will help the government gain a “better understanding of chaotic orbits in the XGEO domain,” according to a DoD announcement July 28. 

AFRL uses the term XGEO for outer space beyond geosynchronous orbit out to the Moon. 

The research work contract covers areas like N-body problems, or predicting the individual motions of a group of celestial objects interacting with each other gravitationally.

The contract announcement says KBR will focus on space situational awareness in non-traditional orbits.

Only one bid received

The work is intended to support the “development of robust capabilities to better understand and predict motion, perform data association, initial orbit determination, and maneuver detection,” said the announcement.

The contract awarded to KBR was a competitive acquisition but only one offer was received. 

KBR has several AFRL contracts to operate and maintain sensor sites and manage research projects on space domain awareness.

The company last year won a $39.5 million contract to analyze the effects of natural and manufactured threats to spacecraft in orbit.

AFRL’s Space Vehicles Directorate also is funding a flight experiment, called Oracle, to monitor deep space, far beyond Earth’s orbit. The lab in November awarded Advanced Space a $72 million contract to develop a spacecraft for the Oracle mission.

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...