06:03 GMT30 October 2020
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    The US Defense Department recently released an outline of the new satellite architecture for its Space Development Agency (SDA), a space force military branch that will oversee the development of sensors and weapons to counter advances by Russia and China.

    The architectural layout of the agency’s military satellite setup will consist of a layer which tracks and targets missiles threats in addition to a custody layer which will provide “all-weather custody of all identified time-critical targets,” according to the Space Development Agency. In addition, a deterrence layer will detect and track objects in space to prevent satellites from undergoing collisions while a navigation layer will provide navigation services in the case that GPS is unavailable. 

    Outline of Space Development Agency Architecture
    Outline of Space Development Agency Architecture

    It will also include a command, control and communications network that utilizes artificial intelligence. A space transport layer will be responsible for providing around the clock global communications while the support layer will include “mass-producible ground command and control capabilities, user terminals, and rapid-response launch services.”

    According to the SDA, each layer will “provide an integral and integrated capability to the overall architecture.”

    On July 1, the SDA issued a Request for Information solicitation so that potential contractors can submit their proposals for the space architecture.

    “The Space Development Agency's (SDA) mission is to rapidly develop and deploy a threat-driven, next-generation space architecture to counter near-peer efforts to contest or deny our space-based systems,” the notice reads.

    “To further its mission, SDA requests information from industry related to satellite bus, payload, applique, and launch concepts that can contribute to an agile, responsive next-generation space architecture.”

    In March, then US Department of Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced the establishment of the SDA to “define and monitor” future threat-driven space architecture and accelerate development while reducing bureaucratic overlap and inefficiency, Sputnik reported.

    “Continuing actions by our near-peer competitors, China and Russia, suggest that they will attempt to deny, degrade or destroy US space capabilities, and are designing strategic and tactical weapons that are not easily detected, identified, or tracked by legacy National Security Space (NSS) systems”, Shanahan said in the memo at the time, which was distributed to senior defence officials. 

    "Our existing space acquisition system is not responding to this new threat environment at the pace now being set by our adversaries,” Shanahan added.


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