tech track papers


Real-Time Tactical Space Asset Retasking

It is well known that the value of satellite imagery to the warfighter dramatically decreases with age and that this is particularly true for more tactical operations where battlespace situational awareness is paramount.  Reducing the length of the kill chain, the time from target selection to neutralization is important to maximize not only the safety of the warfighter but also to minimize the potential for targets to morph and collateral damage. Successful missions such as ORS-1 have shown that it is possible to get tactically useful information into the hands of the warfighter.  To minimize the complexity of the pathway from image request to image delivery, future mission concepts such as the DARPA SEE-ME program have aimed to launch a large constellation of low-cost spacecraft that could be tasked via a tablet application.  However, even this system suffers the drawback that assets cannot be always immediately retasked for image request in real-time. Together with DARPA and others, Moog has led the development of a terminal allowing low latency Low Earth Orbit (LEO) spacecraft communications with the internet via existing Inmarsat ground and space assets.  Under an Air Force Research Laboratories research effort and inspired by architectural visions long advocated by the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office, Orbit Logic has developed a software suite able to import the user requests and mission constraints and process to develop an optimized set of spacecraft directives on orbit in real-time. In this paper, Moog and Orbit Logic describe how such developments in real-time Low Earth Orbit (LEO) communications and intelligent onboard scheduling software can be used in three diverse applications.  A tactical military application is described that could accelerate battlefield awareness as well as a simplified command and control architecture for large LEO constellations and a Space Situational Awareness application.


Author: Christopher Pearson
Topic: Government, Science and Communication