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DARPA Selects 11 Companies for Phase 1 of Space-BACN Program

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DARPA Selects 11 Companies for Phase 1 of Space-BACN Program

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has named 11 companies that will participate in the first phase of the Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program.

Space-BACN aims to create a low-cost and reconfigurable optical communications terminal that would enable seamless communication between satellite constellations owned by the government and private entities. The program’s envisioned end result is a low-cost and reconfigurable optical communications terminal that can adapt to most inter-satellite link standards.

There are three technical areas for phase 1 of Space-BACN: the development of a flexible, lightweight and affordable optical aperture; the creation of a reconfigurable optical modem that can support up to 100 gigabit-per-second data transfers; and the identification of critical command and control elements for cross-constellation communications, DARPA said.

CACI International, Mbryonics and Mynaric were chosen to work on the first technical area while II-VI Aerospace and Defense, the Arizona State University and Intel Federal will work on the second technical area. Space Exploration Technologies, Telesat, SpaceLink, Viasat and Kuiper Government Solutions were selected for the third technical area.

Phase 1 will last for 14 months and will result in a fully defined interface between system components. A preliminary design review is also expected for the first two technical areas.

Companies working on the third element are expected to come up with a schema for cross-constellation C2 by the end of phase 1. They will also conduct a demonstration in a simulated environment to test the plan for a specific scenario.

At the end of phase 1, select companies in the first two technical areas will participate in an 18-month second phase, which will require them to create engineering design units of the optical terminal components. Entities in the third technical area will continue to evolve the inter-constellation schema.

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Category: Space

Tags: CACI contract award Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Intel Federal inter-satellite communications space Space-BACN space-based adaptive communications node SpaceX