WASHINGTON — SciTec won a $5 million contract from the Space Force to develop a software application that analyzes data from U.S. missile-warning satellites, the company announced Feb. 7.

The Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), run by the U.S. Space Systems Command, selected SciTec and two other companies to develop apps to process infrared sensor data from Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites. 

SciTec is a small business based in Princeton, N.J. The $5 million nine-month contract is to process data from SBIRS sensors in highly elliptical orbit. The company’s app will be hosted on a government-owned ground system known as FORGE, short for future operationally resilient ground evolution. 

The Air Force started FORGE in 2019 to serve as the ground system for SBIRS and for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites projected to be launched over the next decade. FORGE is being designed as an open-architecture system to host third-party apps at different classification levels. The current SBIRS ground system was developed by Lockheed Martin, which also manufacturers the SBIRS satellites that operate in geostationary and highly elliptical orbits.

Raytheon in 2020 won a $197 million five-year contract to design the FORGE operating system. SciTec, Maxar and Altamira were selected to develop data processing applications that take in raw sensor data and turn it into information for military users, civilian first responders and researchers. 

For this project, SciTec teamed up with Northrop Grumman Space Systems Sector and Radiance Technologies. The data processing is done at a government lab in Boulder, Colorado.

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...