MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA (November 2, 2022)—In today’s aging hierarchical communications infrastructure, legacy ground and space communications systems have insufficient bandwidth for high volume data traffic, preventing true communications resiliency. But new commercial space systems provide the digital and hardware information systems infrastructure to improve speed, latency, scalability, and interoperability.
The Hybrid Space Architecture (HSA) project seeks to solve this problem by integrating commercial and government capabilities to preserve operational and informational security while enabling collaboration between services as well as with our allies and partners. Hybrid Space Architecture is to link multiple ground communications systems with diverse satellite networks, utilizing all available links including but not limited to the Electromagnetic Radio Frequency spectrum (RF/EM), Optical Inter-Satellite Links (OISL), Military Tactical Data Links (TDL), and legacy and future ground segment wired networks.
DIU awarded four contracts in the second phase of HSA to companies collectively pursuing the goals of an agile and resilient communications architecture that will move data across commercial, military and allied assets while integrating multi-domain cloud based storage and analytics. The organizations joining the DIU effort include SpiderOak Mission Systems, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Amazon's Project Kuiper, and Microsoft Azure Space.
“Hybrid Space Architecture ventures into an experimental communications vision that connects users from around the globe using modern and future communications,” said Steve Butow, director of DIU’s space portfolio. “The additional four awards from this solicitation provide new capabilities while seamlessly integrating into this dynamic and innovative collective of information and networking infrastructure that will provide resilient communications, and future technologies access, world-wide and beyond.”
DIU awarded four contracts in the second phase of HSA to companies collectively pursuing the goals of an agile and resilient communications architecture.
DIU is collaborating with the United States Space Force (USSF) Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC), the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Space Vehicles Directorate, and the USSF Space Systems Command (SSC) on this effort.
In July, DIU posted an initial overview of Phase I of the efforts which was to create a Hybrid Gateway Satellite to prove some of the networking technologies. Phase II, now underway, will expand the operational network to link terrestrial cloud and internet services with massively proliferated commercial communications satellite constellations over a secure backbone of user authentication and data assurance using blockchain ledgers to realize the variable trust architecture that truly enables a hybrid public/private network.
A fully networked battlespace has been the dream of commanders for decades. While being a fundamental enabler of concepts such as Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2), the vast benefits to warfighters vary from on-demand and near-real-time satellite imagery and theater-wide asset tracking to reliable broadband internet at remote operating bases for improved morale and family welfare. Hosting sensors and edge processing on every satellite further enables breakthrough civil applications, including comprehensive space domain awareness and high-fidelity mapping of the space radiation environment. A present day use case is in Eastern Europe where armies currently in conflict rely on multiple cloud servers and various commercial communication terminals both on the ground and in space to move data to and from the battlefield. In a fully realized hybrid architecture, it will not matter if a commercial node is blocked, shut down, or destroyed, the future network will self heal and provide true resilience as long as there is an entry point for an individual user into the network.
“This project will pursue the goals of an agile and resilient communications architecture that will be able to move data through commercial, military and allied assets while integrating multi-domain cloud based storage and analytics,” said Dr. Rogan Shimmin, DIU program manager for HSA. “It's time for the internet to move off-planet.”