Dr. David Milliner, Ph.D., Partner, and EVP Federal Operations
The entire space industry has been undergoing a significant transition that will continue for the foreseeable future. This transformation is underpinned by shifting and increasingly challenged business models for the industry – namely one that is based on on-demand broadband service delivery in lieu of reserved fixed capacity. These “virtual satellite systems” span either a highly adaptable satellite in terms of coverage and capacity and/or automated service delivery across a fleet (or fleets) of satellites in lieu of e.g. an annual dedicated transponder lease. Another important challenge for the industry that is increasing in complexity is the regulatory issues facing spectrum sharing between and among satellite operators (both GEO and NGSO) and terrestrial systems.
For nearly a decade, RKF Engineering has been designing dynamic and reconfigurable in-orbit adaptable high throughput satellite(s)/systems for both geostationary and non-geostationary orbits (NGSOs). These satellites/constellations are highly dynamic in terms of service type, coverage, power, frequency plan, capacity, and many other key parameters, and allow customers to meet their evolving business needs via improved performance, increased dynamicity, and reduced cost to remain market competitive.
“We have been leading innovation in satellite and terrestrial telecommunications, spanning systems engineering, resource optimization, production software systems, modeling and simulation, spectrum regulation policy, and engineering analyses,” says Dr. David Milliner, Ph.D., Partner, and EVP Federal Operations at RKF Engineering.
Further, RKF’s regulatory team leverages its strong modeling and simulation horizontal business unit to perform intricate engineering analyses to advocate for and defend the spectral access positions of customers. Additionally, RKF has been developing production software tools for SATCOM spectrum sharing.
Honing such capabilities, RKF has served several Federal and non-Federal customers. On the Federal side, RKF was awarded a prime contract from the Space Force to create a SATCOM Enterprise Management & Control (EM&C) Situational Awareness prototype. In this project, RKF could leverage its heritage software development and ability to consider the complexity of future satellite communication systems to deliver advanced capability for the betterment of the nation. In referral to this EM&C effort, Dr. Milliner states, “an enterprise SATCOM approach will allow users to roam seamlessly across space communication assets in a way that centralizes asset control and increasing network capability and resiliency.”
That’s not all! RKF also specializes in spectrum engineering, which, on the Federal side, is primarily in support of DISA’s Defense Spectrum Organization. On the commercial side, RKF provides engineering, analysis, and regulatory support to businesses—from startups to Fortune 10 companies. “We are small and highly specialized in activities for telecommunication systems at the physical layer and application layer (opposite ends of the Open Systems Interconnection model),” says Dr. Milliner. By focusing on high technology, RKF is able to solve some of the harder design and analysis problems faced by its customers. No wonder, RKF’s growth has been entirely organic since its inception and is based on strong work product and client referrals.
More importantly, RKF’s has been able to retain incredible talent through rigorous screening, top compensation, providing employee autonomy, flexible working conditions, and a positive (and at times whimsical and humorous) work environment. Going forward, the company has plans to expand the scope with both its Federal and non-Federal customers. “We will be pivoting from a purely consulting company to one that brings products to the entirety of the satellite and terrestrial communication markets in the near future,” concludes Dr. Milliner.