December 15, 2011

Evolving Satellite Ground Systems into Smartphone Applications

News Report

As reported in a recent press release, Lockheed Martin has signed a three-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force’s Space Development and Test Directorate and Air Force Research Laboratory to improve the operation and affordability of satellite command and control.

Lockheed Martin will leverage its best engineering technologies from across U.S. DoD, Intelligence, and Civil programs to meet the challenges of operationally responsive ground system configuration to achieve “lights out” operations.  Additionally, Lockheed Martin is scaling its ground station from a Space Operations Center down to a single laptop, and instantiating a ground system remotely from its host hardware (micro-cloud computing architecture), all while supporting multiple concurrent classified missions.

The project will culminate with live demonstrations in the Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center (MMSOC) at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., late this year, 2012, and 2013. As the leader in USAF ground systems R&D, the Space Development and Test Directorate will provide access to space missions and the MMSOC for live experimentation. The Directorate will help guide the investigations, provide system configuration and flight operations support to experiments, and assess the potential technologies on behalf of the DoD.


This agreement is a first step in opening up our architecture to the best ground station technologies in the private and civil sectors.” said Colonel John Anttonen, Chief of the Space Test and Operations Division at Kirtland AFB. “We are bringing the smartphone concept to our next generation ground systems where satellites are flown as apps and new technology can be rapidly inserted.

Under the agreement, the parties are working to research, develop, demonstrate, and evaluate successful technologies to more quickly and affordably configure and autonomously operate satellite command and control systems,” said Bob Kramer, Lockheed Martin IS&GS-Defense vice president for Operational Systems and Services. “We look forward to working with the Air Force on this important operationally-responsive C2 project.

References: Lockheed Martin (1)


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