Press Release

US Air Force Awards York Space Systems and MSU Denver Contract to Further Space Innovation

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 2020
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York Space Systems, an aerospace company specializing in complete space segment customer solutions and the manufacturer of standardized spacecraft platforms, in conjunction with Metropolitan State University of Denver, has been awarded a Small Business Technology Transfer study contract by the Air Force Research Laboratory. The project will investigate delivering high-performance space capabilities at an unprecedented low cost and minimal wait time, using leading-edge commercial space technology.

The STTR program funds research and development for companies and higher education institutions like York Space Systems and MSU Denver, who can deliver innovative technology applications to advance the mission of the Air Force. Over the course of the study, York will leverage its operational spacecraft and open-standard payload interfaces to work in tandem with MSU Denver, applying its commercial software and tools to optimize space imagery from York’s low-cost Earth Observation spacecraft being built for commercial customers.

“This program is not only beneficial to the future of the Air Force but is a chance for York and MSU Denver to demonstrate the value of this unique partnership and the cutting-edge space technology we can provide to the New Space industry,” said Melanie Preisser, vice president of national systems at York Space Systems. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity given to us by the Air Force and look forward to our continued success working with MSU Denver.”

As part of the study, MSU Denver’s Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science is creating a Laboratory for Enhanced Space Data Analytics, which will house automated test software and initial analytics for imagery products. MSU Denver will use the laboratory to allow students to perform studies and analyses of promising commercial image enhancement approaches.

“We are fortunate to have this unique opportunity to partner with York Space Systems, to build and operate a space data laboratory for the U.S. Air Force,” said Janine Davidson, Ph.D., president of MSU Denver and former under secretary of the Navy and deputy assistant secretary of defense for plans. “These innovative partnerships are the best way to ensure our education system is developing the industry leaders the nation needs.”

“While we are providing faculty and talented students to support this important research, York is helping us mentor the next generation of aerospace entrepreneurs, so they understand what it takes to succeed in every aspect of space commercialization,” said Jeff Forrest, MSU Denver chair and professor of the Aviation and Aerospace Science Department, who is a principle researcher on the study.

York recently received another contract from NOAA’s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) for satellite mission and instrument design analysis. This builds upon York Space Systems’ recent announcement of its Hydra Mission Series that accelerates new technology insertion and rapidly advances component and payload technology readiness for the broader industry. 

About York Space Systems

York Space Systems was founded to radically improve spacecraft affordability and reliability, transforming and enabling next generation space mission operations worldwide. Today, it is one of the most innovative aerospace companies, specializing in both end-to-end customer solutions and the rapid production of spacecraft platforms. York’s complete Space Segment Solution including spacecraft production, payload integration, system integration & test, launch services, ground segment services, and mission operations enables customers to leverage York’s existing technology solutions to rapidly and responsively get to orbit outpacing competitors. York’s S-CLASS industrial-grade platform is a standardized 3-axis stabilized spacecraft capable of supporting 85kg payloads with up to 3,500W peak (Enhanced power system), while reducing the cost of manufacture by an order of magnitude. The S-CLASS spacecraft is fully compatible with all launch vehicles, including ground and air-launched, and ground segment providers.  When optioned with York’s cloud-based mission tasking and operations center, an ultra-low-cost solution is available on demand for next generation data collection and analytics companies. For more information, visit

About Metropolitan State University of Denver

As one of Colorado’s leading public universities, Metropolitan State University of Denver is reimagining what is possible in higher education through the power of access, diversity, excellence and innovation. Founded in 1965, MSU Denver offers high-value, real-world education to more than 19,000 students through career- and community-focused bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. And 80% of our 95,000 alumni live and work in Colorado, advancing their communities and the state economy. Based in the heart of the Mile High City, MSU Denver’s thriving urban campus provides unparalleled access to internships and professional networks that jump-start careers. See what’s possible for your future at   

SpaceRef staff editor.