Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. and Rancher Government Solutions announced a partnership to propel satellite ground systems. 

The partnership introduces an approach that invokes change, making virtualised and software-defined ground systems more accessible and responsive to the demands of modern satellite operations.

Satellites provide invaluable communications, navigation, and reconnaissance for military operations, but in turn, this incentivises a capability to deny enemy use of the same assets, according to GlobalData’s Analyst Briefing: The future of space militarisation.

This collaboration bridges Kratos, a technology company in defence, national security, and global markets, with Rancher Government Solutions, a provider of enterprise Kubernetes management solutions to the US Government.

Kratos’ experience in satellite control was previously acknowledged last year in a $579m contract to enhance the command-and-control system consolidated for military satellites, bolstering US defence capabilities. The company was contracted to focus on improving the control and sustainability of the CCS-C system, which manages telemetry, tracking, and commanding military communication satellites. 

This alliance focuses on providing customers with deployment and scalable virtual ground systems through Kratos’ OpenSpace platform. Positioned as a first-to-market software-based networking solution, the OpenSpace platform is engineered to connect space to the ground, supporting satellites, orbits, payloads, and services.

As satellite operators and government agencies grapple with the intricacies of dynamic satcom and Earth observation missions, shifting from fixed and proprietary hardware to flexible and scalable cloud environments becomes imperative. The OpenSpace Platform emerges as a solution, enabling the simultaneous support of missions and operations.

Kratos and Rancher Government Solutions have collaborated to enhance the OpenSpace Platform’s adaptability across customer environments. The OpenSpace platform’s virtual functions, including modems, channelisers, combiners, and more, are deployed as Kubernetes-based containerised software applications. This approach changes these functions into independent, portable computing environments capable of running and scaling on any infrastructure.

Brandon Gulla, chief technology officer at RGS, highlighted the nature of this collaboration, stating, “We are proud to be working with Kratos to support this truly transformational platform that will free satellite operators from proprietary hardware architectures and move to software-defined, flexible, and extensible virtual platforms.”

The software-defined and containerised nature of the OpenSpace platform positions it as an alternative to traditional hardware-based satellite ground systems. As customer demands evolve, the OpenSpace platform can reconfigure dynamically and deploy new services automatically, providing a solution in minutes.

Anthony Semiao, the chief solutions architect of the OpenSpace platform, emphasised the role of Rancher as a key enabler, stating, “Rancher serves as the Kubernetes management technology that supports the OpenSpace Platform’s ability to automate the deployment, scaling, and management of our containerised workloads.”

Switching between cloud providers such as Google, Amazon, or Microsoft adds flexibility and adaptability to satellite operations in an ever-evolving technological landscape.