The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a new program that seeks to develop a reconfigurable optical communications terminal that would enable different small satellite constellations in low-Earth orbit to communicate with each other.
The Space-Based Adaptive Communications Node program seeks to create a low-cost terminal that would facilitate communications among various constellations by adapting to optical intersatellite link standards, DARPA said Tuesday.
“This lack of OISL standardization results in a fragmented, stove-piped 'Wild West' space domain with new constellations that can't interoperate, government satellites that can't communicate between one another, and government satellites unable to take advantage of emerging commercial communications capabilities,” said Greg Kuperman, Space-BACN program manager at DARPA's Strategic Technology Office.
The Space-BACN program will focus on three technical areas: optical aperture that can couple into single-mode fiber, reconfigurable modem and a cross-constellation command and control approach.
DARPA has issued a solicitation for Space-BACN and will accept abstracts for technical areas covering optical aperture and modem through Oct. 4. The agency will also host a virtual information session on Sept. 22.