Second US defence R&D contract for SpaceLink

Defence, space and communications company Electro Optic Systems has been awarded a second contract to further develop its SpaceLink satellite communication system with the US military.

EOS subsidiary SpaceLink announced it was selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) for the new contract award.

SpaceLink will participate in the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node (Space-BACN) program designed to connect the United States’ widespread space assets.

Along with other contributors, SpaceLink will assist DARPA in studying and developing protocols for how commercial communications constellations will interact with Department of Defense (DoD) systems in a Space-to-Space interconnected future.

A SpeceLink SVP David Nemeth said: “DARPA’s Space-BACN program is well-aligned with our mission to provide continuous high capacity, real-time links to deliver data from space to the warfighter.

“DARPA’s vision of interoperability will unlock the value of the proliferating commercial remote sensing constellations for U.S. government agencies.

“We are gratified to share our technical insights with regard to command and control and API development.”

Earlier this month SpaceLink entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command Technical Center (USASMDC-TC) in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama to further the system’s development.

Under the agreement the organisations are working together to explore alternative space communications pathways that ensure resiliency and reduce sensor-to-shooter latency.

SpaceLink plans a satellite relay system for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), with both laser optical and RF links to speed the flow of remote sensing data and communications between satellites gathering data in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and ground receivers.

At the same time such a system of near-Earth communications relay satellites could augment the US national security space architecture.

For the new agreement, SpaceLink will contribute its technical insights in the development of the application program interface (API) and algorithms included in Space-BACN Technical Area 3 (TA3).

SpaceLink will also have the opportunity to support the simulation and testing that ‘informs the deployment and utilisation of Space-BACN reconfigurable optical communications terminals’, according to the company.

SpaceLink is partnering with Parsons Corporation (NYSE: PSN) on a technical approach to support the Space-BACN program by combining Parsons’ existing enterprise scheduling and tasking software with the SpaceLink optical relay network.

Together they will enable space-to-space optical communications terminals that can be
dynamically modified on-orbit to adapt and talk across various optical standards used by
different satellite systems.

Picture: SpaceLink

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