Tag Archives: SDA

Laser Communication

Northrop Grumman Corporation on June 14, 2022 announced the successful ground demonstration of a secure networked laser communications system for proliferated-LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellations supporting the U.S. military.

Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL)
Northrop Grumman’s Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) mesh satellite constellation will provide resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport supporting U.S. military missions around the world and serve as a critical element for Joint All Domain Command Control

Performed for the Space Development Agency (SDA) leadership, the demonstration validated compatibility between commercially developed laser communication and secure U.S. government encryption hardware, providing a baseline for Northrop Grumman’s future proliferated space crosslink communications offerings including SDA’s Transport and Tracking programs.

«We invested in this demonstration because we wanted to reduce key risks early in development», said Blake Bullock, vice president, communication systems, strategic space systems, Northrop Grumman. «Our team focused on speed and optimizing the best of emerging commercial suppliers like Mynaric and Innoflight – while bringing the mission expertise unique to Northrop Grumman to test and field this prototype constellation».

Northrop Grumman selected Mynaric as a strategic supplier for laser communications in space, and Innoflight for encryption, decryption and other key aspects of Northrop Grumman’s architecture.

As the U.S. Department of Defense works to connect the joint force, Northrop Grumman’s space networking capabilities seek to play a vital role in providing secure global connectivity. Another step toward enabling this vision to connect the joint force is the recent announcement of a collaboration with AT&T to research and develop a 5G-enabled digital battle network.

Innoflight is a non-traditional defense contractor founded in 2004. Innoflight offers state-of-the-art space avionics, including Communications & Networking Solutions, Cyber Security Solutions, Processing, Data Storage & Payload Interface Electronics Solutions, and Bus & Payload Integrated Avionics Solutions. Our core competency is secure Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) systems designed through innovative implementation of modern commercial, off-the-shelf technology. The result is modular, high performance, yet low Size Weight and Power systems at competitive prices. Our products are qualified through an Innoflight rigorous process that includes parts reliability analysis and testing, system-level fault tolerance, and radiation risk mitigation. Our customers include the U.S. government, prime aerospace contractors and commercial space developers.

Mynaric is leading the industrial revolution of laser communications by producing optical communications terminals for air, space and mobile applications. Laser communication networks provide connectivity from the sky, allowing for ultra-high data rates and secure, long-distance data transmission between moving objects for wireless terrestrial, mobility, airborne- and space-based applications. The company is headquartered in Munich, Germany, with additional locations in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, D.C.

Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.

Laser Interconnect

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced on June 30, 2021 that, in partnership with the Space Development Agency (SDA), its Laser Interconnect and Networking Communications System (LINCS) satellites were successfully launched on the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket as part of the Transporter-2 mission from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. The two 12U cubesats that make up the LINCS system were successfully deployed into orbit and have begun satellite commissioning and operations. This launch marks the first successful launch of SDA payloads since the agency was established in 2019.

LINCS
General Atomics LINCS System Launched Successfully and Deployed

«Congratulations to SDA on this historic milestone. We look forward to continue supporting them over the next several months as the GA-EMS LINCS system is used to demonstrate space-based optical communication and validate its efficacy for the future national security space architecture», stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. «I am extremely proud of the GA-EMS team, whose tireless work and remarkable efforts over the past few years have led to a successful launch and deployment of this important technology».

The LINCS system is comprised of two 12U cubesats each hosting a C-band dual-wavelength full duplex Optical Communication Terminal (OCT) and an InfraRed (IR) payload, with all elements internally designed and built by GA-EMS at their facilities in San Diego, CA and Huntsville, AL. In partnership with SDA, this is among the first Department of Defense contracted efforts to develop and deploy a state-of-the-art 1550 nm OCT to test capabilities to increase the speed, reliability, distance, and variability of communication in space.

«Optical communication will significantly augment space-based communication, and the launch of the GA-EMS LINCS system is the first step in proving this critical technology in space», added Nick Bucci, vice president of Missile Defense and Space Systems. «Our next checkpoint is to establish the proper orbit, communication and control of the two spacecraft. From there, we will work with SDA and commence a series of experiments testing optical communication in a variety of operational scenarios».