The Pentagon Space Development Agency provided an open request for input from the space sector on a laundry list of innovations. The January 25 “broad area statement” invites firms to send pitches for ventures in space technologies that the SDA may be involved in financing if they fulfill particular needs. The SDA is purchasing a fleet of low-Earth orbit satellites for strategic use. It has obtained 28 satellites so far, 20 for the Transport Layer of the data-relay satellites, as well as 8 for the missile-warning Tracking Layer, which it plans to deploy in 2022. It plans to acquire up to 150 extra satellites and will be deployed at the end of 2024.
To cut production costs and keep its projects on a strict timetable, the department stressed the use of competitive satellite technologies. The January 25 announcement states that the SDA is committed to financing technological innovation and development ventures that it will not be able to locate on the open market. “While SDA seeks mainly to procure mature technologies which can be rapidly deployed to address urgent warfighter capability requirements, SDA can also make restricted but pivotal contributions in research & development efforts, especially when it is possible to maximize the yield on those investments in prospective acquisitions,” the solicitation states.
Based on the nature of the applications, the SDA intends to grant several contract awards. Until January 24, 2022, applications will be approved. Any of the SDA wish list innovations include:
- Space-to-space, space-to-airborne, and space-to-ground miniaturized optical inter-satellite connections.
- Low-power tactical data antenna technologies link communication with different users, especially in the L-band.
- Radios specified by safe software are compliant with several tactical data links.
- Encryption Type I miniaturized, low-power NSA-approved
- For GPS-denied settings, positioning, navigation as well as timing features,
- Overhead wide-field-of-view continuous infrared missile detection camera systems, comprising focal plane arrays as well as low-earth orbit operational processing methods.
- Missile alert and monitoring architectures of the OPIR with sensors of varying sensitivities, operating in various infrared bands as well as deployed in multiple orbits.
- Passive detection and processing of the radio-frequency to enable spacecraft to collect information from adversary emissions.
- Automatic subject identification methods that use machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify points of interest.
- Novel phenomenologies for the identification and control, and monitoring of time-critical targets for missile hazard remote sensing.
- Technology for cybersecurity in the protection of space data networks.