AFWERX selects Rogue Space Systems to develop CubeSat dispenser prototype and contactless manipulation technology.

GILFORD, NH, September 27, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Rogue Space Systems, a NH-based in-space services company, announces it has been selected by AFWERX for two STTR contracts through its Orbital Prime program. These contracts support continued development of Rogue innovations that address the most pressing challenges in the Department of the Air Force (DAF). Rogue designs satellite vehicles and subsystems to provide on-orbit services to satellite operators. To deliver these contracts, Rogue has partnered with The University of Utah and University of Illinois.

With the first Phase II STTR award, working with University of Illinois, Rogue plans to develop a functional, multi-purpose CubeSat dispenser system prototype that will solve the problem of frame style / dispenser system incompatibilities. “Rogue is always seeking innovation in areas where the market falls short in delivering what the industry needs. For example, early in our Orbot design process, we had to adjust our design to fit with different types of deployment systems depending on the launch provider. Rogue seeks to resolve that with a more universal design,” according to Rogue’s Chief Innovation Officer, Michael Pica. “This technology will expand launch opportunities for all CubeSat launch providers and developers. This will help with keeping up with the growing demand of ground to space operations.” says Pica.

The second Phase II award is for the development of technology for contactless manipulation of resident space objects (RSOs). Speaking of this ability, Jon Beam, Rogue’s Chief Operating Officer, offered, “Contactless detumbling will enable safe in-space servicing of all types. The ability to arrest angular momentum of client vehicles and debris makes servicing and debris mediation possible.” Continuing the Phase I effort, Rogue is developing an Orbot system that integrates the University of Utah’s patented Omnimagnet to de-tumble, capture, or otherwise manipulate these RSOs. “This is one of the most interesting technologies that we have under development. It inspires people’s imagination to the possibilities whenever we describe what it is and how it works. From a practical standpoint, being able to de-tumble an RSO remotely is a critical prerequisite to performing docking, transport, or repair operations; but the further reaching implications feels like we’re turning science-fiction into reality,” adds Pica.

The Air Force Research Laboratory and AFWERX have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) process by accelerating the small business experience through faster proposal to award timelines, changing the pool of potential applicants by expanding opportunities to small business and eliminating bureaucratic overhead by continually implementing process improvement changes in contract execution. The DAF began offering the Open Topic SBIR/STTR program in 2018 which expanded the range of innovations the DAF funded and now with these July 2023 Phase II awards, Rogue Space Systems continues its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States of America.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Air Force, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

About Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development, and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit

The innovation arm of the DAF and a directorate within AFRL. Brings cutting-edge American ingenuity from small businesses and start-ups to address the most pressing challenges of the DAF. Employs approximately 325 military, civilian and contractor personnel at five hubs and sites executing an annual $1.4B budget. Since 2019, has executed 4,671 contracts worth more than $2B to strengthen the U.S. defense industrial base and drive faster technology transition to operational capability. For more information, visit:

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