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DARPA selects Spacelink to help connect the space domain

The US Government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract of undisclosed value to US company SpaceLink, a subsidiary of Canberra-based Electro-Optic Systems (EOS), to participate in the Space Based Adaptive Communications Node – Space (Space-BACN) program.

The company, which aims to provide secure data from any orbit at any time, was selected for the contract by DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office (STO). SpaceLink’s Always in Sight™ data relay system is designed to provide global coverage to empower space system operators to maximize use of their assets. The Space-BACN program aims to connect the proliferated space domain, including links between the civil and military domains.

SpaceLink is building a constellation of relay satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) that use optical intersatellite links to speed communications between spacecraft on orbit and users on the ground. 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.

“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,” said David Nemeth, Senior Vice President of Systems Engineering at SpaceLink. “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.”

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 utilization of Space-BACN reconfigurable optical communications terminals.

SpaceLink is partnering with Parsons Corporation 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.

The company also recently announced a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the US Army Space and Missile Defense Technical Center (SMDTC) in Redstone Arsenal, Alabama.

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