Defense Unicorns Are Chosen by Space Force to Update Software at Launch Ranges

Defense Unicorns Are Chosen by Space Force to Update Software at Launch Ranges

A $15 million contract to replace IT systems and software applications supporting rocket launches at U.S. Space Force ranges has been awarded to Defense Unicorns, a startup.

The Colorado Springs, Colorado-based company was awarded a “Strategic Funding Increase,” or STRATFI, agreement by SpaceWERX, the Space Force’s technology division.

Companies that have won Small Business Innovation Research projects are given contracts under the STRATFI program, which aims to assist small firms in attracting private investors and facilitating the transition of products from development to manufacturing.

The funding range for each project under a STRATFI contract is $3 million to $15 million. Defense Unicorns and other firms received STRATFI honors, which were revealed by SpaceWERX last week.

The STRATFI partnership with Defense Unicorns spans five years.

The business revealed last week that Sapphire Ventures and Ansa Capital led a $35 million Series A fundraising round.

Changing over legacy systems

Defense Unicorns was started three years ago by former Department of Defense software factory developers, according to Andrew Greene, one of the company’s co-founders. The company’s specialty is converting antiquated military systems—which are normally not connected to the internet—to modern IT infrastructure.

According to Greene, software updates are desperately needed at the Space Force’s launch ranges in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. Applications specific to each range, such as those that track weather patterns and the state of launch vehicle gear, are housed in stovepipe heritage systems.

According to him, the U.S. Space Force must quickly adopt and incorporate new technology due to the quickening pace of commercial launches.

According to Greene, the complexity of security and compliance requirements, a variety of compute environments, and outmoded technology make modernizing launch IT systems extremely difficult.