Defense Satellite Communications System

May 1, 2020
By Kimberly Underwood
U.S. Space Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency-6 (AEHF-6) communications system atop the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket is moved to the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Center in preparation for its March 11, 2020, launch, the first for the new service. The Space Force will employ next-generation data management across all of its systems to make sure information, especially from satellite systems, is a powerful tool for the service.  United Launch Alliance

Unlike the other services, the military’s newest service, the U.S. Space Force, is starting with a chief data officer in place on day one of its existence. With an executive in place to guide how the service will administer its information, and with support from its top leadership, the service aims to have its data aid its strategic advantage.

October 11, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
DARPA’s Blackjack program wilDARPA’s Blackjack program will leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Concept graphic courtesy of DARPAl leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Credit: Concept graphic courtesy of DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeing initial success from its Blackjack program, according to Paul “Rusty” Thomas, program manager. The research agency is developing a subset of a constellation, 20 low Earth orbit (LEO) globe-to-globe satellites, to demonstrate a new way of building out space systems.

“We are looking at how we might do space architecture differently,” said Thomas. “We want to limit the integration time, so we can actually get to the point where a payload might not even know what bus it is going to go on, and you can actually think of the payload as the mission.”