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Hypervelocity Space Ballistics


Atomic-6 Receives $1.25 Million SBIR Direct-to-Phase II Award for Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Shielding




ATLANTA, GA (October 31, 2022) – Atomic-6 is proud to announce their newest Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Direct-to-Phase II award for the proposal titled “Lightest Weight Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) Shielding this Side of Mars.” This project supports the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) – Space Vehicles Directorate’s national defense-related mission need within space technology research and development; working towards mitigating the damage of MMODs if they impact a United States Space Force asset. This SBIR Phase II award will allow Atomic-6 to showcase their technology without one of the harshest and most demanding environments.


MMOD affects all space missions and according to NASA, “Orbital debris is the number one threat to spacecraft, satellites, and astronauts. Collisions with orbital debris can pit or damage spacecraft in the best-case scenario and cause catastrophic failures in the worst. Averaging speeds of 10 km/s (22,369 mph), a 1-centimeter paint fleck is capable of inflicting the same damage as a 550-pound object traveling 60 miles per hour on earth. A 10-centimeter projectile is comparable to 7 kilograms of TNT.”


“The average MMOD projectile travels 10 kilometers per second. At that speed, you could travel from Los Angeles to Atlanta in 10 minutes! We are excited to begin development and not only demonstrate that our proprietary manufacturing process provides best-in-class performance, but ultimately improves the success and safety of all space missions. There’s an exorbitant number of documented occurrences where MMODs have penetrated not only spacecraft but actual astronaut suits. With the ever-expanding need for space exploration, this project is a top priority for us and one that our team is thrilled to support,” explains President and CEO of Atomic-6, Trevor Smith.


CEO of True Anomaly, Even Rogers, detailed in his SBIR Phase letter of support for Atomic-6, “True Anomaly is developing agile spacecraft to normalize and commercialize space defense and surveillance technology. Agile spacecraft need to be able to protect themselves from MMOD strikes and other in situ kinetic threats while also remaining low mass. Atomic-6’s ultra-high fiber volume composite MMOD shields offer significant improvements in MMOD shielding while also significantly reducing shielding mass. The result is a more agile spacecraft with high survival capability. True Anomaly is interested in supporting Atomic-6’s development by reviewing their MMOD shield materials for application to our 2024 flight mission.”


About AFRL


AFRL is integral 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.


About Atomic-6 Atomic-6 is an advanced composites manufacturing firm. Our proprietary process brings composites to the next stage of innovation; creating highly customizable products that are stronger, lighter, and produced faster than ever before. Atomic-6 is committed to bringing next-generation composites to the forefront of Space, Aerospace, Hypersonics, and Ballistics industries[KS1] .

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