tech track papers

Categories: 2018, Satellite Communications Command and Control

Space-Ground Communications Testbed

Traditional satellite operations focus on ensuring specific individual satellite constellations are optimally performing their missions. The satellite controllers are generally a mix of ground, vehicle, and payload specialists. These types of operators treat constellation issues as system anomalies and are trained to troubleshoot specific issues. The traditional skill set for basic satellite command control may not be sufficient when trying to protect our space assets. The broad tenets implied by “Space Protection” will require operators to be knowledgeable of numerous sources of interference, multi-constellation situational awareness, and real-world intelligence to develop appropriate courses of action. This broad approach to space mission operations implies a paradigm shift to technologies and tactics that focus on assuring that all space assets can be accessed at all times regardless of mission orbit or configuration.

To meet this need, Raytheon has built a space-ground communications testbed which provides a high fidelity operationally relevant environment for Mission Management, Command and Control testing, bidirectional space to ground communications, anomaly resolution, and anomaly scenario development.  This system can emulate/simulate a diverse number of satellites and ground system characteristics in order to evaluate approaches to maintain communications through degraded environmental conditions and radio frequency interference. In addition, the system can also evaluate the network bandwidth required between local and remote system services to determine the appropriate level needed to maintain command authority over spacecraft and/or ground systems. Using this testbed, decision-makers are able to execute multiple scenarios using varying satellite and ground characteristics with confidence that their findings are applicable in real-world operations.


Author: Sheldon Clark, Sarah Law
Topic: Satellite Communications, Command, and Control