The Department of Defense (DOD) has signed agreements with four companies to help develop a space communications network of commercial and military satellites. The project hopes use military and commercial satellites to carry data through a secure space communications architecture, ultimately delivering it to military users.
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DOD’s Defense Innovation Unit has awarded contracts to Amazon Web Services, Kuiper Government Solutions, Microsoft Azure Space, and SpiderOak Mission Systems for its Hybrid Space Architecture (HSA) project, the organization announcement Wednesday.
The project was announced earlier in July, with initial contracts awarded to Aalyria, Anduril, Atlas, and Enveil. Today, the Department of Defense appears to be diversifying its portfolio of companies, working outside of its usual network of business partners. “New commercial space systems provide the infrastructure for digital and material information systems to improve speed, latency, scalability and interoperability,” DIU wrote in a statement.
The DIU was created to enable the military to make better use of new commercial technologies. For this project, DIU is also working with the US Space Force and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate to develop the space communications network.
“HSA is essentially the DoD’s effort to build an Internet in space and will support the Department’s goal of establishing a national security information advantage,” said Jason Zander, the team’s executive vice president. strategic missions and Microsoft technologies, wrote in a blog post. “By collaborating with commercial partners, HSA significantly expands its range of satellite and space systems in various orbits, ground stations and communication paths.”
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For the hybrid network, commercial satellites will communicate with each other in low Earth orbit, medium Earth orbit, geostationary orbit and cislunar space to move larger volumes of data at higher speed. “A fully networked battlespace has been a commander’s dream for decades, but it is now finally within reach,” DIU wrote in its statement.
HSA will also focus on cybersecurity and countering cyber threats by enabling user authentication and data protection across the entire network. “Our goal is to ensure that not only Microsoft, but also our partners, can adhere to the same high security standards and can meet and exceed US government security requirements while keeping pace with the changing cyber threat landscape” , wrote Zander.
When it was first announced in July, the hybrid network was in its initial phase of testing networking technologies. Today, the project has entered its second phase to connect ground-based cloud and internet services with constellations of commercial communications satellites, according to DIU. “It’s time for the internet to leave the planet,” Rogan Shimmin, IUD program manager for HSA, said in a statement.
After: Two military satellites have just communicated with each other using space lasers