U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) is surveying industry on software concepts to buttress new systems for the space domain awareness mission conducted by various units, including the 18th Space Defense Squadron (18 SDS) at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., and the Joint Task Force-Space Defense at Schriever Space Force Base, Colo.
Such software “would support the decommissioning of existing legacy systems at the 18 SDS, including potential functionality from systems such as Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC); Correlation, Analysis, and Verification of Ephemerides Network (CAVENet); Astrodynamics Support Workstation (ASW); Special Perturbations Tasker (SP Tasker); [and] Non-Traditional Data Pre-Processor (NDPP),” according to a July 30 Request for Information (RFI).
“It also could support enhancements to the mission area such as tracking of Cooperative and Non-Cooperative Proliferated Low Earth Orbit launches, automation of routine functionalities, etc.,” per the notice. “This RFI supports the analysis for all of these capabilities, to inform future budget and program decisions. Additional separate RFI’s may be issued in support of other capabilities/imperatives. Where possible, the [Space Force] would like to understand within your responses how your technology and operational concepts for this imperative could enable, connect, and contribute across all capabilities. These organizations would also like to understand the scalability and adaptability of your proposed concepts.”
Tracking objects in space relies on a number of systems.
Six Northrop Grumman [NOC] Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program are on orbit, and the company is developing the Deep-Space Advanced Radar Capability (DARC) ground-based radar to improve upon the company’s Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) System for tracking deep-space objects (Defense Daily, Apr. 14). In February, U.S. Space Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $341 million contract to build the first DARC radar, which is to field in the Indo-Pacific region in 2025.
SSC has said that the precise tracking of space debris and satellites will allow operators to be alerted in time to maneuver a satellite away from danger.
In April, SSC said that the timeline for fielding Space Force’s Unified Data Library (UDL) is uncertain but that Space Force was continuing a prototype effort for UDL to serve as a centralized, cloud-based data repository for space domain awareness/space defense, and likely for the Department of the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS) and the Pentagon’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) architecture (Defense Daily, Apr. 14).
One organization that is to use the UDL is the Joint Task Force-Space Defense at Schriever.
Last year, Colorado-based Bluestaq LLC received a $280 million contract to develop the UDL for Space Force (Defense Daily, May 4, 2021).
L3Harris Technologies’ [LHX] Advanced Tracking and Launch Analysis System (ATLAS) is to replace SPADOC.
Space Force expects ATLAS to lead to a dramatic increase in the speed of processing and integrating space domain awareness data from commercial, civil, and military space sensors.
Omitron and Parsons Corp. [PSN] are subcontractors to L3Harris on ATLAS.
In 1989, the Department of the Air Force last upgraded SPADOC, established in 1979 at the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado.
ATLAS is to pull data from the UDL and harness machine-to-machine interfaces to accelerate the provision of space domain awareness data.
In October 2018, the Department of the Air Force awarded a $53 million contract to L3Harris for ATLAS.