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Xona accelerates commercial LEO GPS alternative with investment from AFRL and U.S. Space Force


Burlingame, CA - Aug. 1, 2023 -- Xona Space Systems Inc., a company building the next generation of satellite navigation, has partnered with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the U.S. Space Force to work toward a secure Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) architecture leveraging Xona's PULSAR™ service. This $1.2M Direct to Phase II SBIR (D2P2) contract was awarded through an AFWERX SBIR Open Topic after Xona successfully demonstrated the capability of their patented LEO PNT architecture using the "Huginn" demo satellite in late 2022.

Xona PULSAR is a commercial SATNAV service powered by a constellation of small satellites in LEO designed specifically to provide high-performance PNT to end users. With satellites that can be rapidly manufactured and launched and can operate independently of GPS, PULSAR provides a global, high-powered alternative that offers unprecedented levels of SATNAV resilience and protection.

Colonel Jeremy Raley, Commander, Phillips Research Site and Director of the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate said of the award, "Lessons from this effort will pave the way for future defense programs to successfully utilize commercial space assets for flexible and diverse SATNAV that is resilient to the adversarial threat. This investment will contribute to force design analytics that consider contributing signals from multiple orbit regimes." 

"Our partnership with the AFRL Space Vehicles directorate and USSF's Space Warfighting Analysis Center will give Xona the expertise necessary to seamlessly integrate PULSAR into the US national security space architecture," said Brian Manning, Chief Executive Officer for Xona Space Systems. "Early assessment of unique DOD PNT requirements will set us up for a successful transition to operational service."

Preceding the award, Xona became the first company to launch a privately funded PNT mission progressing from concept to on-orbit in less than 12 months. Since then, Xona has not only validated the capability of their technology on-orbit but also built out a growing ecosystem of industry-leading GNSS receiver and simulator partners with companies such as Hexagon | NovAtel, Septentrio, Spirent, Safran, Syntony, and StarNav. In April 2023 Xona moved into its new headquarters in Burlingame, CA where the company has begun ramping up to deploy the production PULSAR satellites.

About Xona Space Systems, Inc.

Xona Space Systems is developing the first ever independent high-performance satellite navigation and timing system designed to meet the needs of intelligent systems. Delivered via a secure, high-power signal from Xona's low Earth orbit satellites, the patent-pending Pulsar™ service aims to enable the next wave of connected technology. Learn more at 

About the Air Force Research Laboratory 

The Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 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. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries:

Jessica Hulsey: / Director of Government Services



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