Colorado Springs-based defense technology contractor Bluestaq has won a two-year, $280 million extension of its contract with the U.S. Space Force that will allow the company to nearly double its number of employees by mid-2022.

Bluestaq, which celebrates its third birthday next month, will add space data from many more sources to the Space Force Unified Data Library, which contains information from a variety of sensors, satellites and other sources to help 3,500 businesses, government and military agencies, the intelligence community and others in 25 countries keep track of space objects. The award extends the contract until July 31, 2024, and increases its ceiling by more than seven fold.

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"As a small business, less than three years old, our team is incredibly grateful to play a pivotal role supporting the Space Force in the development of the Unified Data Library," Andy Hofle, Bluestaq's chief engineer and one of four co-founders of the company, said Tuesday in a news release on the contract award. "It's a significant milestone in Bluestaq's brief but exciting history."

Bluestaq won its first prime contract, valued at $150,000, in June 2018 under the Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research program to build the data library. The company won a $37 million extension of that contract in 2019 to add air and maritime data to the library and expand the network of sources providing the data. It added another $3 million contract with the Space and Missile Systems Center to create an online marketplace for users to purchase the data. That contract has been folded into the latest award.

Colorado Springs becoming the hub for directing traffic in space

Under the latest contract, Bluestaq will integrate much more data into the library as a result of Space Force leader Gen. John Raymond ordering in a recent memo that the Unified Data Library be the "single source for assessing and managing all data in support of Space Force operational systems."

Bluestaq anticipates the Space Domain Awareness Marketplace it launched in September to sell data from the library will eventually handle 10 million data transactions daily. The marketplace reduced the time needed to complete such transactions from up to two years to 17 minutes.

Bluestaq moved into the former University of Phoenix space in the First Bank building downtown early last year and now has about 50 employees, most of whom work remotely but will told to return to the office after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are lifted, said Rebecca Decker, the company's chief operating officer. The company plans to add 40 employees to its team working on the Space Force contract by mid-2022, she said.

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"When it is safe to do so, we eventually will recall everyone to the office. Working from home doesn't fit our culture very well. Our culture is that we work as a team," Decker said. "We have a historic arcade, shuffleboard tables and a coffee bar in our office to provide cool spaces where employees can sit down to work or meet with their colleagues."

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