The United States Space Force has launched the Space Prime program, a new initiative intended to bolster emerging on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) companies.

The program is a joint effort between the Space Force and the US Air Force (USAF). It is managed by SpaceWERX, which is the innovation arm of the Space Force and part of the USAF-run technology incubator.

While its predecessor, Agility Prime, is aimed at the flying cars sector, Space Prime similarly intends to boost investment for OSAM technologies. 

According to Space News, Space Prime contracts can be awarded to small businesses that partner with academia or non-profit institutions. The first-round contracts are worth up to $250,000, a figure which can increase to up to $1 million in the second round. The third round will see the companies awarded with much larger “strategic financing”, on the condition that funds from private investors are also secured. 

“Space Prime is our strong signal to academia, industry, investment, interagency, and international partners on a specific mission area where we aim to energize the space industrial base and develop on-orbit capability in an accelerated timeline,” a SpaceWERX statement states.

“We are targeting operational capability in two to four years,” the statement adds.

Additionally, SpaceWERX claims it can provide assistance with testing, as well as address policy concerns that emerge regarding new and untested technologies.