Second US defense R&D contract for SpaceLink

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

EOS subsidiary SpaceLink announced that it had been selected by the Office of Strategic Technologies (STO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the award of the new contract.

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

Along with other contributors, SpaceLink will help DARPA study and develop protocols for how commercial communications constellations will interact with Department of Defense (DoD) systems in a space-to-space interconnected future.

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 proliferating commercial remote sensing constellations for US government agencies.

“We are excited to share our technical knowledge in command and control and API development.”

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

As part of the agreement, the organizations are working together to explore alternate space communication paths that ensure resiliency and reduce latency between sensor and shooter.

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

At the same time, such a near-Earth communications relay satellite system could augment the U.S. national security space architecture.

For the new agreement, SpaceLink will contribute its technical knowledge in the development of the Application Program Interface (API) and algorithms included in the Space-BACN Technical Domain 3 (TA3).

SpaceLink will also have the ability to support simulation and testing that “informs the deployment and use 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 task scheduling and assignment software with the SpaceLink optical relay network.

Together, they will enable the establishment of space-to-space optical communications terminals that can be
dynamically modified in orbit to accommodate and speak through various optical standards used by
different satellite systems.

Photo: Space Link

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Melvin B. Baillie