DOD Announces New Contracts for Its "Internet in Space" Effort

DOD Announces New Contracts for Its “Internet in Space” Effort

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Microsoft, SpiderOak and Amazon are among the companies that have won contracts to help the federal government develop a hybrid communications network of civilian, commercial and military satellites, according to an announcement from the Department of Defense Innovation Unit. la Défense – or DIU – on Wednesday.

DIU is working with the U.S. Space Force, the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicle Directorate to develop an interoperable “Hybrid Space Architecture” – or HSA – that will enable the secure flow of data over various communication networks.

In a blog post, Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft’s Strategic Missions and Technology team, said the HSA “will be built in part on Microsoft Azure and leverage key features from our solution suite. AzureSpace”.

“The 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,” Zander wrote. “By collaborating with commercial partners, HSA significantly expands its range of satellite and space systems in various orbits, ground stations and communication paths.”

In a press release announcing the award of four second-phase contracts to SpiderOak Mission Systems, Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Microsoft Azure Space, DIU said the HSA “will link multiple ground-based communications systems to various satellite networks , using all including, but not limited to, the electromagnetic radio frequency spectrum, optical inter-satellite links, military tactical data links, and existing and future ground segment cable networks.

The agency said this will enable the integration of business and government capabilities needed to “preserve operational and informational security while enabling collaboration across services, as well as with our allies and partners.”

“This project will pursue the goals of an agile and resilient communications architecture that will be able to move data across commercial, military, and allied assets, while integrating cloud-based multi-domain storage and analytics,” said Dr. Rogan Shimmin, IUD program manager for HSA, said in a statement. “It’s time for the internet to leave the planet.”

DIU announced in July that it had awarded initial contracts for the HSA project to Aalyria Technologies, Anduril, Atlas Space Operations and Enveil to help “demonstrate a network architecture that leverages both commercial and government space assets in various orbits to provide secure, assured services and low latency data communications anywhere on and off Earth.

In a press release, SpiderOak said the contract will allow it to “deliver the company’s OrbitSecure zero-trust protocol in orbit,” helping to achieve the HSA project’s goal of enabling end-to-end cybersecurity on the hybrid network.

“We are delighted to have been selected by DIU and [the Space Warfighting Analysis Center] and partnered with York Space Systems to secure this mission, and we very much look forward to working with the other selected companies to support the full hybrid space architecture in the future,” said John Moberly, SpiderOak’s senior vice president for space, in a statement. “Together, we enable a foundational layer of commercial industry and allied capabilities to ensure that our national security is protected from the ground and from space.”

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