Launch Stories provides warfighters, sponsors, partners, and taxpayers with an inside look at the technologies and research developed by small businesses working with the Air Force.
Sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), this new forum highlights the advanced tools and innovations that drive US competitiveness and make service members safer, better informed, and more efficient than ever. These are their stories.
(If you are interested in partnering with the Air Force to develop a new technology or explore new markets, you can find more information here.)
Congress established the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program in 1982 to strengthen the role of smaller businesses in federally-funded research and development. This program stimulates technological innovation, uses small businesses to meet Federal R&D needs, and increases private sector competition, productivity, and economic growth.
The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, a sister program to SBIR, was established by Congress in 1992 to encourage small business partnerships with Universities, Federally Funded Research and Development Centers, and qualified non-profit research institutions.
The process for submitting a story is divided into a few easy steps. Estimated time to set aside to write, input, collect support materials and emailing your project information is about four hours.
Download the provided Launch Stories Submission Word document below to start your submission process.Launch Stories Submission
Gather supporting imagery and video for your story as described in the Launch Stories Submission document.
Submit your completed Launch Stories Submission document, along with any supporting imagery to email@example.com.Submit
Upon receiving your information, the Air Force Research Laboratory will review it for technical accuracy. Once cleared for public release, your story will be posted online.
Don’t have an account? Register today to upload your own story.Register
Thank you! Your registration is pending review. Once your account has been approved, you will receive a confirmation email.
Imagine you are a watch officer in the Joint Space Operations Center who witnesses a catastrophic space collision. A non-functioning satellite from a foreign country has collided with a small US satellite and has just greatly increased the already existing debris field in Low Earth Orbit. You need to move US and allied space assets into safe orbits, but you don't know where to begin or how to proceed without disrupting the current picture in the ops center.
In 2007, a Chinese anti-satellite missile destroyed a polar orbit satellite, sending debris in all directions. Traveling at speeds up to 17,500 MPH, the debris field threatened other US assets. Any similar event would do the same, potentially damaging millions of dollars worth of equipment and capability. The Immersive Dome provides a "battle cab" for commanders to visualize courses of action and the consequences of their decisions in the vast space arena, all without disrupting the current picture in adjacent operations centers.
Automatic Image Alignment
The space enterprise needs a capability where the leaders who are not deeply familiar with space can understand the space environment. Object behavior is highly counter-intuitive to humans whose evolution continues to be profoundly influenced by the forces of gravity. Poor decisions are likely to be made by leaders who have trouble visualizing how objects in space behave. The Immersive Dome could greatly impact decision-making and planning at the Joint Space Operations Center, US Strategic Command, National Reconnaissance Office, and Pentagon without disrupting the other assets in space.
Working with AFRL in their effort to demonstrate the possibilities for the next generation Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC), Applied Minds set out to build an unmatched visualization environment, pushing the limits of the state-of-the-art to present the most realistic simulation tool possible. The result is the highest resolution, seamlessly blended, eye limiting immersive environment in existence. The JSpOC Immersive Dome is useful both as a research tool to understand the problem set and as a scenario tool to evaluate extremely complex options and to test possible outcomes based on human intuition.
"In the Dome, the imagined quickly becomes real. " — Story Musgrave
Imagery is projected on the dome from 50 high-definition projectors. Forty-six of these are mounted in 8 tiers in an aluminum tower centered at the base of the dome, and 4 are mounted in two sets on each side of the tower. Each high-definition projector outputs 1920 x 1080 pixels, so the total output is 103 megapixels (Mp) at 60 frames/second. By comparison, the previous highest resolution dome projection known is 32 Mp, while another immersive, cubical room displays 100 Mp, but uses tiled images which are not blended together. A three-seat command platform is mounted on top of the projector tower, placing the operator for the optimum field of view. An AMI-invented 3D “bowling ball” interface provides intuitive control of dome imagery, consisting of an illuminated sphere suspended on a cushion of air for free movement in any direction. Finally, the AMI Immersive Dome is fitted with the most powerful sound system ever installed in a projection dome, with a capacity of over 40,000 Watts. The audio system is used for directional cues and realistic sound effects which enhance the visualization experience.
Applied Minds, LLC developed a new technology for blending projectors that is infinitely scalable. The system allows all service members to understand the behavior of objects in space and the consequences of their decisions.
The project was positively received by senior leaders in government. The Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary of the Air Force, NSA Director, SOCOM Vice Commander, and NRO Director among others have all visited to see the dome for themselves.
"The dome successfully synthesizes multiple technologies including auto alignment, massive parallel threaded processing, audio and display enhancement, all for the first time in one system. "— Clint Hope, Executive Director, Experimental Systems at Applied Minds
The Dome is equally useful for Mission Rehearsal, Cyber Visualization, GEOINT, Computer Aided Design, Electronic Order of Battle, Chemical and / or Molecular analysis, Illumination Studies, Acoustic Localization Studies, Flight Simulator / Ground Simulator, Underwater Visualization, and UAV Operations. The Dome can support multiple security domains and Multi-INT integration and can provide both temporal and relational views. Everything is Real Time.
Applied Minds is a unique company, working at the crossroads of art, information, science, technology, design, and society. Applied Minds has creative individuals over a broad range of subject areas to help organizations establish and achieve innovative visions.
Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer
Executive Director, Experimental Systems
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