ATLAS Space Operations proposes to leverage its global network of ground stations to develop the ATLAS Spacecraft Tracking - Passive (ASTra-P) for Space Domain Awareness. ATLAS proposes to conduct a feasibility study on the use of existing antennas as RF
LINKS Multi-Beamforming Antenna: This Phase 1 study will examine the feasibility of taking the LINKS antenna to TRL7. The current prototype demonstrated the capability of ATLAS LINKS for telemetry, tracking, and collection of mission data from satellites. The small system can be rapidly deployed to enable new ground station setup in a short amount of time, which enhances the DoD’s architecture resiliency through scalability and expedient reconstitution. The current Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) antenna node provides the foundation upon which a flexible, capable and operationally suitable architecture is possible. Users add nodes as required in a building block approach, meeting operational vignette scenarios and technical performance requirements. With each added node, the respective array increases in number of supported contacts and contact reception G/T. The EMD unit demonstrated the feasibility of taking the LINKS multi satellite electronically steered antenna to TRL7. The current engineering unit demonstrated the capability for telemetry, tracking and collection of mission data from satellites. LINKS is capable of 14-17 dBi/K per beam G/T, multiple simultaneous beams, downlink in LEO and GEO, Auto tracking in LEO and GEO, coherent combining of disjointed panels, digital signal enhancement, and ATLAS Freedom™ Software Platform integration. The flexible and scalable architecture is made possible by ATLAS’ proprietary signal processing algorithm that allows the user to dynamically reconfigure array layout and resource allocation for maximum mission performance. Signal gain is achieved through a symbol-aware noise removal algorithm that also removes RF carrier effects, reducing RF grating lobes. This enables combining from disjointed, heterogeneous receivers. G/T thus becomes a matter of scheduling, varying with array physical size as well as with downlink signal types. During the next generation development phase, ATLAS will conduct rigorous systems engineering and product line development tasks which will result in a fully-tested EMD antenna node (or node varieties). LINKS will be capable of on-demand performance enhancements by scaling to mission requirements up to and including SCN class antenna performance. Unlike huge monolithic phased array antennas, LINKS form factor has a low profile that allows them to be spread out on the ground or roof tops contributing to their OPSEC significance and ease of transport and assembly.
ATLASrsquo; vision is to guarantee the US Government (USG) access to space through the ability to leverage a global hybrid network of USG and commercial antennas using a highly innovative machine learning scheduler of schedulers. Built on ATLASrsquo; commercially available product, the prototype for this effort is a data analytics engine to support the ATLAS Cognitive Constellation Management Scheduler. Leveraging the power of data science and machine learning to facilitate decision making in the scheduler, the unified analytics engine prototype will transform raw data from billions of data points to increase network performance measured by the results of the taskings enhancing reliability and resiliency.The main goal of this project is to leverage streaming and real-time data, in addition to billions of historical data points and state of the art data analytics to create detailed performance metrics per site, per customer, per satellite and even per hardware unit, per software patch, and per configuration. The ability to slice and dice per site, customer, etc., tied in with modern approaches to outlier identification, anomaly detection, and time series analysis can empower a suite of insights. This includes use cases such as hardware failure prediction for maintenance optimization and downlink throughput maximization.
Currently, the Air Force and other operational military services cope with hybrid architectures utilizing GEO spacecraft and distributed small satellite networks. The complex environment is only going to become more complicated. The utility and effectiveness of a hybrid network starts with the ability to task, schedule and deliver data from disparate systems. As the domain evolves and becomes more complicated, adversaries will create a contested environment requiring a resilient ground capability that can compensate for denial activities overwhelming traditional human-in-the-loop operations. To solve this, ATLAS Space Operations (ATLAS) proposes to iterate upon their existing software platform, to develop LIBERTY: Unified Tasking/Downlink of Satellite Data. Automating the scheduling, tasking, configuration and data transmittal from and through a secure software centric cloud-based system frees operators to focus on other areas of managing a complex and dynamic environment. Leveraging a trusted system with intuitive user visualization tools and a single VPN access that will abstract ground station differences and simplify satellite and space traffic operations.
AFRL/RV has a national defense-related mission need in the area of connecting disparate government and commercial satellite ground communications networks. Specifically, the impact of this project will be to improve the efficiency and resiliency of the satellite communications infrastructure and multi domain command and control. We believe that technology development under the above SBIR Phase II topic may eventually contribute to solving our mission needs. The mission impact of this project on the Air Force and the Department of Defense will be to increase satellite network capability with current or less manpower while decreasing latency of space communications, reducing manual configuration of communication hardware and networks, and allowing rapid machine-to-machine rescheduling and constellation management. The main goal of ATLAS Space Operations under this contract is to provide path agnostic satellite communications service to both DoD and commercial customers. The ATLAS Freedom Pass Server operates agnostic to the hardware in place at ground sites enabling secure interface to disparate ground systems. The Freedom Pass Server builds contact schedules, performs uplinks and downlinks, streams satellite telemetry in near-real time, and monitors the health of a constellation. For the Phase II SBIR activity, ATLAS proposes to enhance the DoD satellite resource management capability by integrating across multiple services to increase the capability and resiliency of the Air Force satellite communications architecture. Disaggregation of the space communications architecture is key to resilient space operations. In the case of the ground architecture, leveraging multiple commercial networks provides a much more robust satellite communications capability that is resistant to attack and failure. We will recognize profit by charging private and non-defense customers for a simple, secure, and more cost-effective solution to integrating and accessing disparate satellite ground station capabilities worldwide.
The ATLAS Freedom Software Platform simplifies the traditionally complex approaches to satellite operations and network management with the first cloud-based, software-only space management and control system. ATLAS Space Operations has commercialized the technology to connect disparate ground systems, improving efficiency and providing the security the Air Force requires, while also reducing the need for additional manpower.