Sonalysts Wins SBIR Space Trainer Contract
Waterford, CT – November 19, 2008 – Sonalysts, Inc. has been awarded a $10.1 million Small
Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase III contract by the Department of the Air Force,
Headquarters, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, to
design and develop a production Standard Space Trainer or SST to support initial qualification
training, unit qualification training, and crew training of Air Force satellite operators.
Sonalysts Inc. is developing training for Air Force satellite operators that will simulate what
workers experience on the job. In August, the U.S. Air Force awarded Sonalysts a $10 million
contract for the work, said Laura Dietz, the company's project leader.
Funding was provided by a Small Business Research contract in its third phase through the Air
Force's Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles.
The company won the contract by demonstrating its ability to “pull together” the Air Force's
needs and desires and build a training system that simulates what anywhere from five to 20
operators or crew might experience on the floor of a satellite operations center, Dietz said.
Sonalysts has more than 20 years' experience in the design, development, and implementation
of advanced, computer-based military training simulations and tutoring systems.
The company is hiring Lockheed Martin Simulation, Training & Support, headquartered in
Orlando, Fla., to consult on satellite operations, satellite modeling, and training system testing
and validation, Dietz said.
Under the contract, Sonalysts will develop the software and choose the best off-the-shelf
personal computers for the interactive project, said Dietz.
Dubbed the “Standard Space Trainer,” the name refers to both a concept and a product:
standardized training software for the “space” community - that is, those in satellite command
and control and the “space lift community” who help launch satellites.
The project will allow simulation for fixing satellite communications remotely, Dietz said. The
common set of training systems will be much less costly for the military to use than if unique
pieces of hardware were needed for every satellite operations console, she added. The software
will also be designed so simulation programs can be set up “in minutes,” Dietz said.
Sonalysts developed a prototype SST in the second phase of the contract sponsored by the Air
Force Research Laboratory in Mesa, Ariz. That model is in use at the 533rd Training Squadron
at Vandenberg AFB in Lompoc, Calif. for satellite operator training.
Lockheed Martin will provide “an extra set of eyes ... to validate what we're producing before
we release it out to other vendors,” said Dietz. “There's a potential market beyond the Air
Force,” possibly with other branches of the military.
With over 400 highly skilled professionals in more than a dozen offices around the country,
Sonalysts provides solutions to the wide variety of complex challenges facing the government,
corporate and entertainment industries. For more information, go to www.sonalysts.com