Press Release | SPARTAN Advances with Support from U.S. Space Force

EDGE, Energy, Press Release

Oceanit is Developing Ultra-Lightweight Space Armor Technology using AI and Nature

  • Oceanit’s Space Armor called SPARTAN leverages Oceanit’s AI for designing bio-inspired ultra-lightweight, high-strength, and impact resistant space structures.
  • Orbital Spaces above Earth are getting more congested and dangerous for humans, satellites, space vehicles, and space hotels.
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Honolulu, HI September 15, 2023 | Oceanit is continuing its work in the challenging field of space survival, advancing project SPARTAN, an initiative supported by the U.S. Space Force for producing ultra-lightweight, and impact resilient structures designed with Oceanit’s unique AI. These designs will revolutionize space armor for satellites and spacecraft, addressing challenges posed by space debris collisions and ensuring mission safety.

As Earth’s orbit becomes more crowded with new and ongoing missions and deployments, it also becomes a repository for man-made space debris. These debris include defunct objects as well as micrometeorites, particles as small as a micrometer, hurtling through space at speeds of up to 17,500 mph. These objects pose a significant collision risk, capable of causing severe damage or even mission failure. The recent surge in cube satellite deployments, exemplified by SpaceX‘s mission to deploy over 4,500 satellites for affordable internet access, exacerbates collision risks and escalates the growing space debris crisis.

Dr. Tarah Sullivan Suiter, a senior engineer specializing in biomimicry, emphasizes that SPARTAN’s bio-inspired structures hold the key to safeguarding spacecraft from debris and micrometeorites. “SPARTAN designs incorporate three-dimensional patterns drawn from living organisms like butterfly wings and sea urchin skeletons, enabling the creation of structures with an extraordinary strength-to-weight ratio. These structures can withstand a variety of forces, despite their exceptionally low-density volumes,” Dr. Suiter explains.

Oceanit’s SPARTAN team is leveraging AI to assist in developing designs for exoskeletons, armor, and protective features for satellites and spacecraft, with manufacturing carried out through advanced 3D printing techniques.

Additionally, SPARTAN designs will also reduce costs spent on mission launches. Launching spacecraft is costly and naturally tied to weight – often totaling tens of millions of dollars. Using low-density, lightweight structures is essential to optimize expenses tied to necessary lifting power and fuel requirements for heavier payloads.

Recognizing SPARTAN’s potential, the Space Force awarded Oceanit a contract to advance the state of art space armor. The project will also further advance Oceanit’s proprietary AI and the creation of satellite structure prototypes.

Dr. Christopher Sullivan, Oceanit’s Strategic Director for Science and Technology, said the project’s goal is, “to create robust satellite structures with bio-inspired AI honed by centuries of natural selection, capable of withstanding space debris and micrometeorites.”

Given the recent surge in lunar landing interest and global space exploration, SPARTAN stands poised to become an essential asset in ensuring mission success. SPARTAN represents an innovative approach, harnessing unique AI to replicate biological structures, resulting in the creation of a lightweight yet robust space armor.

About Oceanit

Founded in 1985, Oceanit is a “Mind to Market” company that creates disruptive technology from fundamental science. Utilizing the unique discipline of Intellectual Anarchy, Oceanit reimagines innovation to break the bonds of normal and solve the impossible — delivering technologies to the market that impact humans and society. Oceanit’s diverse teams work across aerospace, healthcare, energy, and industrial/ consumer technologies, as well as on environmental and climate matters.  Through engineering and scientific excellence, Oceanit transforms fundamental science into impactful, market-focused technologies used around the world.