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UTSI, NearSpace Launch secure Space Force STTR Phase I grant

By Caitlin Brooks

The project will study Black Box-MCAT, an integration of NSL’s Black Box EyeStar with UTRFs patent pending µSTAMPS Thruster technology

The United States Space Force recently awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I grant to the University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) and NearSpace Launch (NSL) during its first-ever round of funding. This award will allow UTSI and NSL to conduct a feasibility study of Black Box-MCAT, an integration of NSL’s Black Box EyeStar communications systems technology with UTSI’s µSTAMPS Thruster technology.

Common notions of space satellites might evoke images of Sputnik, but the future of space exploration might be a little smaller – around one to 10 kilograms. Nanosatellites, or CubeSats, offer a more accessible, affordable way to explore space when compared to traditional satellites. In the last five years, the market has grown over 200%. However, current models do not have propulsion thrusters, an issue that could lead to potential issues like collisions and the creation of space debris.

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