The Space Development Agency (SDA) is a critical component of the United States Space Force, established to drive the development and deployment of advanced space technologies. Its primary goal is to rapidly develop and field cutting-edge space capabilities, including satellites, sensors, and communication systems, to ensure the country's dominance in space. The SDA operates with an emphasis on innovation, agility, and collaboration with both government and commercial partners. Recently, SDA began working closely with SAIC.
SDA has selected SAIC to manage a cloud-based “application factory”. It means to create, test, and deploy resilient battle management, command, control, and communications (BMC3) software for its upcoming low Earth orbit satellites. This initiative aims to enhance the interoperability and cyber resilience of the satellites.
The key components of this ecosystem are BMC3 modules (Battle Management, Command, Control, and Communications) together with the BMC3 Application Factory (AppFac), which contribute to on-orbit data processing.
The BMC3 software “compute modules” are crucial for facilitating data exchange between satellites in SDA’s multi-mission Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) and ground operators. The Applications Factory software environment will play a pivotal role in developing and optimizing these “modules”.
SAIC serves as the developer and implementer of software for BMC3 mission applications. In addition to the main tasks of SAIC, there is also the provision of security integration at all stages of the development process. Under the contract worth up to $64 million over 2–4 years, SAIC will create the architecture and infrastructure for establishing a "clearing house" for other contractors to develop unique mission applications.
SDA’s Transport Layer will consist of a network of 300 to 500 communication satellites that will be designed to transmit data rapidly with minimal delay to military users in any part of the world and from other satellites. It's a critical component in the Defense Department's Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept, facilitating seamless connectivity between sensors and shooters across all the military services.
It is expected that the Transport Layer’s Tranche 1, comprising 126 satellites, will achieve its initial operational capability in September 2024. This is due to the fact that in February of the previous year, SDA awarded development contracts for Tranche 1 to companies York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Space, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems, with a total value of $1.8 billion.
Author: Nessa, Cyber Journalist
Photo: Unsplash / NASA
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