DoD grapples with how to bring in new space technology to military systems – SpaceNews

Steve Butow, Protection Innovation Unit: “We want a logistics infrastructure that that is not unique to the navy to civil house or industrial house.”

WASHINGTON — The U.S. navy has constructed “very beautiful” satellites that function for many years and is now trying to transition to a unique house structure that takes benefit of rising applied sciences, Steve Butow, director of the Protection Innovation Unit’s house portfolio, mentioned Feb. 10 on the SmallSat Symposium.

“If we’re going to do all the nice issues that we need to do in house within the 21st century, now we have emigrate” to a brand new mannequin the place the federal government can develop modular methods utilizing commoditized satellite tv for pc buses and parts, Butow mentioned. 

The Defense Innovation Unit was created in 2015 to assist speed up the insertion of economic know-how into navy {hardware}. 

“The 20th century mannequin doesn’t exist anymore,” mentioned Butow. In house, “We want a logistics infrastructure that that’s not unique to the navy to civil house or industrial house however a logistics structure,” he mentioned. That might permit the federal government to purchase new satellites, for instance, and be capable of periodically improve them with superior sensors and processors utilizing industrial house tug providers. 

Throughout a panel dialogue on the SmallSat Symposium, Butow and different specialists mentioned a key problem in making a broad market ecosystem is agreeing on normal interfaces for house {hardware} so your complete house economic system — authorities and personal sector — may purchase from the identical market.

Eric Brown, senior director of navy house mission technique at Lockheed Martin, mentioned the corporate is working with industrial house companies and startups so talk about “how we’d be capable of on ramp these sorts of nice progressive new capabilities into the key missions.” 

Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for the navy’s main satellite tv for pc constellations together with the World Positioning System, missile-warning and communications satellites. 

The U.S. Area Drive is learning methods to attach legacy satellites with new methods corresponding to these being developed by industrial firms and by the Pentagon’s Area Improvement Company, so knowledge could be shared throughout totally different satellite tv for pc constellations. 

The Area Improvement Company is constructing a mesh community in low-Earth orbit often known as the Transport Layer. Lockheed Martin is one of the companies chosen to supply satellites to the Area Improvement Company. “We’ve acquired to discover a method that we will put new know-how up,” mentioned Brown, with out sacrificing capabilities that exist already.

“There’s definitely been conversations I’ve heard and been part of the place individuals instructed a ‘minimize and run’ kind technique and shifting in the direction of totally different constructing blocks that aren’t linked,” Brown mentioned. The draw back to that’s “you’re shedding out on the chance to benefit from all the present property you’ve acquired,” he added. “Our capability to wage battle sooner or later, to have interaction our adversaries, goes to come back from having the ability to capitalize on all the pieces.”


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