melanie stricklan

Slingshot Aerospace clinched a $1.2 million contract with the U.S. Space Force to create a visualization tool intended to identify enemy missiles and improve data collection in space.

Working with Culver City-based Zoic Labs, the four-year-old company will build an infrared surveillance system that it hopes will eventually be used by Air Force operators to track and handle missile warnings and battlespace awareness reports.

Zoic Labs is the sister company of Zoic Studios, which created the visual effects for "Avengers: Age of Ultron." It will draw upon that inspiration to convert satellite sensor data to video.

Melanie Stricklan, co-founder and CEO of Slingshot Aerospace, said the missile warning mission is key to maintaining top defense and intelligence domains in the United States.

"Our innovative solution will help improve the operator experience and optimize mission efficiencies, while positioning Slingshot Aerospace to be a potential leader in next generation OPIR situational awareness," Stricklan said in a release announcing the deal.

Last week, the U.S. Space Force announced it would establish a tech and acquisition arm at Los Angeles Air Force Base's Space and Missile Systems Center in El Segundo. The move was widely hailed by Southern California's aerospace community as further evidence that the region had become an important hub.

Twenty years ago today Lt. Gen. Susan Helms arrived at the International Space Station where she would go on to carry out a historic mission.

During a five-month stint at the station, she emerged to take a spacewalk with fellow astronaut Jim Voss that spanned nearly nine hours, breaking world records for both the longest spacewalk ever and the longest completed by a woman.

Since then, she's been on another mission to inspire a new generation of aerospace pioneers and help them build their own legacy.

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An Air Force veteran who commanded hundreds of experimental missions and operated spacecraft will take the helm of Slingshot Aerospace.

The El Segundo-based company announced that co-founder Melanie Stricklan will take over as its new chief executive officer, effective Thursday, as the company shifts its focus to its space products, Slingshot Orbital and Slingshot Orbital Laboratory.

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