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Derek Tournear Discusses SDA’s Plan to Widen Connectivity With Transport Layer

Satellite communications

Derek Tournear Discusses SDA’s Plan to Widen Connectivity With Transport Layer

Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency, spoke on Tuesday about the function of “translator sats” planned for integration into the Transport Layer, an in-development low Earth orbit constellation meant to provide resilient communication capabilities to the entire U.S. military. He explained in a keynote address at a Mitchell Institute event that the payloads will serve as intermediaries between the SDA network and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance satellites operated by commercial firms and other government agencies, Breaking Defense reported.

Tournear, a 2021 Wash100 recipient and past Potomac Officers Club even speaker, said the translators are for receiving data from third-party spacecraft that lack the necessary optical terminals to connect with the Transport Layer. The payloads also enable linking with commercial ISR satellites unable to meet SDA cybersecurity standards, he added.

Construction of the Transport Layer is underway with the agency awarding a total of $1.8 billion to York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for the development of prototype clusters. Tranche 1 of the project is planned to consist of a network of 126 satellites.

SDA is also looking to equip some Transport Layer constellations with the ability to communicate with moving aircraft. It issued a request for information in August to investigate how Tranche 0 satellites can use laser technology to reliably transmit up to one gigabit of data.

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Category: Speaker News

Tags: Breaking Defense Derek Tournear satellite communications satellites Space Development Agency Speaker News Transport Layer