While the focus of government modernization has been transitioning government into the Cloud, NASA and Space Force have their sights set even further. Both organizations are focused on bringing "new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth."
Show Me the Data!
Data is critical to that mission. Using data, NASA leaders have set a goal to accelerate the time it takes to release innovations to the market by 25%. This data use challenge is common across government, and becomes even more complex when you have to get data from where it is to where it's needed and that movement involves data coming from space.
Being a new agency, Space Force is able to implement many digital born systems, but working with legacy data and systems is a constant challenge that requires innovative thinking. Critical to this is understanding a technology's application to a specific mission and effectively communicating its impact to leaders to help reduce barriers to changing "how it's always been done."
Data at Warp Speed
NASA's Data Acquisition Processing and Handling Network Environment (DAPHNE) system was created to speed the transmission of data from satellites. The solution replaces the traditional method of receiving data via hardware-based ground station antennas that are expensive to maintain, and instead uses a small-footprint, streamlined hardware solution on the ground, plus a commercial cloud-based virtual component to help with distribution.
Sharing Small Steps Leads to Giant Leaps
In a similar innovation around speeding communication, NASA is developing a new wideband Ka-band communications terminal that will allow spacecraft to seamlessly connect to various government and commercial communications networks. Current infrastructure was not designed to support interoperability between networks. This new solution will allow satellites to connect with multiple space relay networks, giving spacecraft a "roaming" function to select the most appropriate service provider.
This connection and collaboration is also a focus of the Space Force. They recently outlined the vision for their digital service and interconnection is critical to their vision. As a branch of the military, the Space Force is focused on developing joint, all-domain solutions, exploiting advantages provided by interconnected infrastructure.
There are a number of events and resources available to follow the priorities and progress of NASA and the Space Force. Here are a few to get you started:
- 6th Annual Joint C2 Summit (January 26-27, 2022; Alexandria, VA) - This town-hall style discussion will bring together members of the DoD, Military Services, Allied Nations, Industry, & Academia to focus on evolving current command and control systems for joint all-domain operations. Topics will focus on the people, processes, authorities and technologies needed to field a meaningful and robust unified network that will support the future of C2 in a data-dependent and data-saturated world.
- IT Modernization Summit 2022 (March 2, 2022; Arlington, VA) - Join the top decision-makers from government and tech as they discuss ongoing efforts in federal IT modernization, the continued move to modern, cloud-based systems, and what is in store with emerging technologies like artificial intelligence.
- Sea Air Space 2022 (April 4-6, 2022; National Harbor, MD) - The U.S. defense industry and key military decision-makers come together for three days of informative educational sessions, important policy discussions and a dynamic exhibit hall floor.
- NASA: Assessments of Major Projects (white paper) -- This GAO report provides a snapshot of NASA's major projects in the development stage of the acquisition process that continue to experience cost increases and schedule delays.
- Defense Space Strategy Summary (white paper) -- Space is now a distinct warfighting domain, demanding enterprise-wide changes to policies, strategies, operations, investments, capabilities, and expertise for a new strategic environment. This strategy identifies how DoD will advance space power to enable the Department to compete, deter, and win in a complex security environment characterized by great power competition.
Find more resources on NASA and Space Force as well as satellite, cloud, and cybersecurity technologies critical to their missions at GovEvents and GovWhitePapers.