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Photo: NASA/Reid Wiseman

As space gets more crowded with satellites and space junk, one company wants to make it easier and cheaper to know where things are in orbit during daylight hours.

Driving the news: Numerica received a $750,000 contract from the U.S. Air Force during the first Space Pitch Day last week, with the chance to apply for up to $3 million.

Why it matters: Experts say better means of keeping track of satellites and space junk will be essential as more satellites are launched.

  • Ground-based telescopes are able to track satellites at night without interference from sunlight, but without other means of tracking, that leaves a gap during the day, when many satellites are maneuvering, Numerica vice president Jeff Aristoff told Axios.

Details: Some tracking systems use radar and other expensive technology to track satellites during daytime hours, but Numerica has developed a relatively cheap, autonomous system that Aristoff says can be deployed worldwide.

  • Numerica has tested its system, but it's hoping to raise funding in order to deploy it on a larger scale.

What's happening: The Air Force's Space Pitch Day is part of the organization's bid to modernize and relax the way it interacts with private companies.

  • “What you see here is your Air Force trying to do things differently; experimenting with how we can work closer with the commercial space market particularly the small businesses,” Lt. Gen. John Thompson, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center commander, said according to Space News.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

U.S. grants temporary protected status to thousands of Venezuelans

Venezuelan citizens participate in the vote for the popular consultation in December 2020, as part of a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Doral, Florida. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

Venezuelans living in the United States will be eligible to receive temporary protected status for 18 months, the Department of Homeland Security announced Monday.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of Venezuelans have fled to the U.S. amid economic, political and social turmoil back home. Former President Trump, on his last full day in office, granted some protections to Venezuelans through the U.S. Deferred Enforced Departure program, but advocates and lawmakers said the move didn't go far enough.

"She-cession" threatens economic recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Decades of the slow economic progress women made catching up to men evaporated in just one year.

Why it matters: As quickly as those gains were erased, it could take much, much longer for them to return — a warning Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen issued today.

The Week America Changed

Sandberg thought Zuckerberg was "nuts" on remote work in January 2020

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Image

Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg thought Mark Zuckerberg was "nuts" when he raised the possibility in January 2020 that 50,000 Facebook employees might have to work from home. By March 6, they were.

Why it matters: In an interview Monday with Axios Re:Cap, Sandberg explained how Facebook moved quickly to respond to the pandemic with grants for small businesses and work-from-home stipends for its employees, and how the company has been watching the unfolding crisis for women in the workforce.