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Space Force Eyes New Capabilities to Improve Satellite Control Network’s Capacity; Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting Quoted

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Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting
Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting Commander Space Operations Command

The U.S. Space Force is looking to increase the capacity of the Satellite Control Network – a system of ground stations and tracking antennas used by the U.S. military to operate and communicate with satellites – by exploring new capabilities that could keep pace with the future growth in space activities, SpaceNews reported Sunday.

“And we’re looking at new capabilities coming on, like phased array antennas which would give us a significant increase in capacity, as well as partnering with commercial and civil organizations to use their satellite control networks,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command.

Lt. Col. Louis Aldini, materiel leader for data transport at Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Enterprise Corps, said the Space Force concluded its assessment of phased array antennas, also known as multiband multimission (MBMM), in February.

“During the life of the contract, MBMM demonstrated a phased array technology for transmitting and receiving capabilities with live DoD assets,” said Aldini. “While SSC is no longer pursuing MBMM, we are continuing to work in partnership with Space RCO to share relevant information, knowledge and lessons learned from the original MBMM effort.” 

Ed Baron, former president of Braxton Science & Technology Group who now leads the Commercial Augmentation Services program at Parsons, said the U.S. government should look at commercial services and its economic benefits. In November, Parsons closed its acquisition of Braxton in a move to expand technology offerings for space, intelligence and cyber sectors. 

Baron said the MBMM phased array antenna procurement effort was “an excellent program to be investing in, but tapping into commercial gives them access to hundreds of antennas.”