Genesis Incubator Client Gets $16 Million Contract

The Air Force Research Laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., has awarded Space Photonics Inc., a Genesis Technology Incubator client at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, a $16.2 million contract.

The contract is one of the largest U.S. Department of Defense deals ever made to a northwest Arkansas company.

The contract is for Space Photonics to develop "Intelligent Free Space Optical Communications Node" prototypes for spacecraft. The technology provides communication and uplink to other networked satellites using lasers.

Earlier this year, Space Photonics gave the UA $225,000 to create a center to test the durability of high-speed fiber-optic communication devices made for use in extreme environments faced by military and space flight equipment.

The donation will fund the Arkansas Space & Photonics Optoelectronics Qualifications Center for two years. The center will perform environmental, electrical and mechanical tests on communication devices created by Space Photonics for use in satellites, military aircraft and spacecraft.

Space Photonics develops and sells optical networking systems and components for military and commercial aircraft and spacecraft. The company has won 13 contract Small Business Innovation Research awards since starting business in 1999, and has generated revenue with about $5.4 million in SBIR contracts, most of which have been with the U.S. Air Force. It was the first Arkansas company in 2004 to receive the state's new tax incentive that provides up to 33 percent in matching tax credits for federal research and development programs.