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Air Force sets up prize for space visualization

Space object visualization
The VQ-Prize aims to boost the development of new visualization tools for space situational awareness. (Air Force Space Command via YouTube)

The U.S. Air Force is looking for a few good apps to visualize satellites and other objects in Earth orbit — and it’s willing to pay $100,000 in prizes for them.

That’s the bottom line for the Air Force Visionary Q-Prize Competition, or VQ-Prize, which runs through Jan. 15. The tech challenge is aimed at encouraging non-traditional industry partners to develop visualization tools to enhance space situational awareness for the Pentagon’s space operators.

“The need for timely and accurate object tracking is paramount to the defense of space, and this competition will help augment existing capabilities with visualization tools that enable operators to intuitively absorb and quickly navigate massive amounts of space object data,” Brig. Gen. William Liquori, the Air Force Space Command’s director of strategic requirements, architectures and analysis, said in a news release.

The software tools can include flat-screen user interfaces as well as virtual-reality and augmented-reality solutions. Contestants can include universities, individuals and small businesses. No background in space applications is required.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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