Commercial Systems and Small Satellites to Become Part of U.S. Military Space Architecture

Commercial Systems and Small Satellites to Become Part of U.S. Military Space Architecture

The operational architecture consists of three essential parts, space superiority, strategic efforts, and theater effects. Space superiority is meant to be the eyes and ears in space to understand better what is going on up there

FREMONT, CA: The majority of the satellites, ground infrastructure, and information systems to be purchased by the U.S. Space Force will be developed in the private sector. According to Col. Russell Teehan, portfolio architect of the U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, the developed technologies will be part of the future capabilities of the U.S. Space Force. He described a notional operational architecture for the systems and technologies that the U.S. Space Force believes it will need. Established as the sixth branch of the U.S. military in December, the Space Force is responsible for protecting the U.S. space assets and providing space-based capabilities in the U.S. and allied military forces.

The operational architecture consists of three essential parts, space superiority, strategic efforts, and theater effects. Space superiority is meant to be the eyes and ears in space to understand better what is going on up there. This will help the agency to protect the nation’s assets better ion space. This requires advanced sensors and surveillance systems that provide what is known as space domain awareness.

Top 10 Space Tech Solution Companies - 2020Strategic effects refer to capabilities like space-based early-warning sensors that can detect missile launches, nuclear command, and Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT). According to Teehan, a strategic architecture ensures that the layers are resilient and can last through all phases of a conflict. Theater effects Services provided by satellites such as communications, regional missile defense, surveillance, and weather fall under theater effects. This sector has seen a significant rise in commercial, allied assets, and smallsats. Teehan stated that there is a lot of commercial activity within the low Earth orbits, a lot of satcom, positioning, navigation, and timing. Theater effects provide a significant opportunity for smallsat innovations.

Commercial services are becoming increasingly available for weather data. The Space and Missile Systems Center is currently testing some of these services before deciding if it should invest in government-owned sensors. There are also significant opportunities for commercial players to participate in the deep space architecture segment, which is not spoken about much. There is a continued effort within the Space Force looking at the capability of pushing to cislunar space. This is mainly due to NASA’s accelerated efforts to return to the moon and then to Mars in the future.

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