GERMANTOWN, MD. - Hughes Network Systems, LLC, the global leader in broadband satellite solutions and services, today announced that it has successfully demonstrated a net-centric approach to relaying critical Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite sensor data to the ground for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center with partner ATK. These demonstrations, conducted in July and November 2013, showcased how agencies relying on LEO satellites for military, scientific or disaster recovery activities can leverage existing commercial satellite infrastructure to reduce latency and costs. The effort was completed under the Broad Agency Announcement for the Weather Satellite Follow-On Activities Risk Reduction Technology Project for which ATK serves as the prime contractor
The demonstrations relied on assets distributed across the continental United States, including Beltsville, MD, Germantown, MD, San Diego, CA, and El Segundo, CA. During the event, Hughes and ATK showcased how sensor data from LEO satellites could be transmitted over commercial Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites and seamlessly handed off to the end user securely without any loss of information. The demonstration included cloud-based processing of data products and dissemination on handheld devices using an end-to-end information architecture hardened with cybersecurity measures and security operations.
"Hughes is proud to have demonstrated this exciting new technology to the U.S. Air Force," said Rick Lober, vice president and general manager, Defense and Intelligence Systems Division at Hughes. "LEO satellites play a crucial role in data collection for everything from weather data to aerial imagery. Currently, these satellites relay their data to ground stations in the Polar Regions, introducing a delay. However, we can reduce this delay and also support operational cost reductions by transmitting this data to commercial GEO satellites."
The net-centric approach relies not only on satellite communications equipment, but an entire suite of technologies, including network management systems, cybersecurity measures, enterprise services, gateway facilities, and ground connectivity for secure cloud processing. Together, these components enable scalable data collection, algorithmic processing and dissemination to end user devices. This service-oriented architecture puts time-critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information in the hands of those on the ground, making data available through military-ruggedized smart phones, tablets and computers.
"Net-centric information architecture will not only save time introducing new LEO sensor capabilities, it will save money," said Maj. Gen Jim Armor USAF (Ret.) and vice president, Strategy and Business Development at ATK Space Systems division. "By utilizing net-centric capabilities from commercial satellites, government agencies can allocate more resources to sensor technology development and deployment."