The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Strategic Technology Office (STO) has selected SpaceLink to support its programme to connect proliferated space domain.

The work is being performed under DARPA’s space-based adaptive communications node (Space-BACN) programme.

As part of the contract, the company will build a constellation of relay spacecraft in medium-Earth orbit (MEO), which will use inter-satellite links to expedite communications between the spacecraft in orbit and the ground users.

SpaceLink Systems Engineering senior vice-president David Nemeth said: “DARPA’s Space-BACN programme is well-aligned with our mission to provide continuous high capacity, real-time links to deliver data from space to warfighter.

“DARPA’s vision of interoperability will unlock the value of proliferating commercial remote sensing constellations for US government agencies.

“We are gratified to share our technical insights with regard to command-and-control and application programme interface (API) development.”

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SapceLink, in collaboration with other contributors, will assist DARPA in studying and developing protocols.

The study will explore ways that allow commercial communications constellations to interact with the US Department of Defense’s systems in a space-to-space interconnected future.

The company will also provide its technical insights to develop API and algorithms required for the Space-BACN programme’s Technical Area 3.

It will provide an opportunity for SpaceLink to support the associated simulation and testing to inform the deployment and usage of Space-BACN reconfigurable optical communications terminals.

SpaceLink is also partnering with Parsons on a technical approach to support the programme.

Work will include incorporating SpaceLink’s optical relay network with Parsons‘ existing enterprise scheduling and tasking software.

Both companies will deliver space-to-space optical communications terminals, which can be modified on-orbit to adapt and communicate across multiple optical standards used by other satellite systems.