DARPA taps Charles River Analytics for space situational-awareness tool

CAMBRiDGE, Mass. Charles River Analytics (CRA) has won a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) worth $1.3 million to help U.S. military commanders better understand different types of potential threats in space.

commanders need accurate and timely information to meet the huge challenge of and command of assets in the space domain, which includes thousands of objects traveling up to 17,000 miles per hour in a space hundreds of thousands of times larger than the earth.

Current information-gathering tools for the space domain were developed when there were fewer objects in space, say CRA officials; in the past decade, however, that situation has changed dramatically, with numerous nations developing assets in space domain, thereby increasing the number of objects to be monitored or assessed as a potential threat.

Under the /CRA Hallmark program, CRA says that it and its partners Operational Intelligence, LLC, and the Space Strategies Center are developing the CRA probabilistic-modeling PICASSA tool to better understand the space environment. The PICASSA tool will escalate notifications about potential threats in space, allowing mission commanders to better understand the ramifications of potential courses of action that respond to threats in space. To enhance space situational awareness (SSA), Charles River will build probabilistic models with its Figaro open-source probabilistic programming language; in the past, CRA has applied Figaro to other efforts for DARPA, such as developing causal models in DARPA’s Explainable Artificial Intelligence program.

CRA officials say that it is also developing another tool under the Hallmark program: The SOLAR effort applies augmented- and mixed-reality technologies to enable enhanced SSA.

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