Press Releases > Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a Phase 1 STTR under the SpaceWERX Orbital Prime Program

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) has been awarded a Phase 1 STTR under the SpaceWERX Orbital Prime Program

Press Release

Press Release

Physical Sciences Inc (PSI) announces it has been selected by SpaceWERX for a STTR Phase I to investigate how its enhanced electrodynamic tethers for high altitude deorbit operations might enable In-space Service Assembly and Manufacturing (ISAM) capabilities being explored by the Department of the Air Force (DAF) and United States Space Force (USSF) through the Orbital Prime program.

Orbital Prime was created to accelerate the commercial ISAM market toward a use case of Active Debris Remediation. The Air Force Research Laboratory and SpaceWERX 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 losing 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 on August 23, 2022, PSI will start its journey to create and provide innovative capabilities that will strengthen the national defense of the United States of America.

About PSI’s Enhanced Electrodynamic Tethers for High Altitude Deorbit Operations
PSI’s passive high altitude electrodynamic tether deorbit system will be capable of deorbiting satellites at end of life. PSI anticipates a fully functional system reaching TRL9 within 2-3 years of program initiation, with commercial production and installation on defense and commercial payloads available concurrent with completion of the follow-on program. The program will result in a low size, weight, cost and zero-power technology for resident space object deorbit for payloads ranging from cubesats to smallsats from higher altitude orbits than is currently achievable.

Rapid, affordable, reliable, safe, and sustainable deorbit of satellites and other space hardware from higher orbits will benefit the civilian commercial and scientific space enterprise as much as it does defense by reducing the risk of space asset collision with end-of-life satellites and debris. When coupled with solar arrays, it will permit orbit raising and station keeping capability without consumables. This zero-power end-of-mission deorbit technology will permit maximum possible mission operation times. For more information, contact

About AFRL
The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force and United States Space 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 11,000 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:

About SpaceWERX
SpaceWERX is the Space component of AFWERX (a program office at the Air Force Research Laboratory -AFRL) which connects innovators across government, industry and academia. Through innovation and collaboration with our nation’s top subject-matter experts and harnessing the power of ingenuity of internal talent, by expanding technology, talent, and transition partnerships for rapid and affordable commercial and military capability. Additional information is available at:

About SpaceWERX Orbital Prime
SpaceWERX Orbital Prime leverages a diverse industry partnership engagement strategy to identify nascent space technology sectors that, if “primed”, could advance U.S. national security and economic prosperity. Prime engagement is not limited to government investment, but also allows SpaceWERX to address key policy concerns as well as offer testbeds and platforms to advance capabilities. The first Space Prime effort, Orbital Prime will invigorate the In-space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing (ISAM) market using Active Debris Remediation (ADR) as a use case for the foundational technologies. Learn more at

For more information, contact:
Dr. Julia Dupuis
Vice President, Tactical Systems
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003