DARPA wants to create a “space layer” with groups of small satellites
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Space-BACN program to create a low-cost optical communication terminal.
The system will be able to adapt to most optical communication standards between satellites.
The military wants to combine various groups of small satellites in low Earth orbit, which are not yet able to exchange data, into a "space layer".
Space-BACN program manager Greg Kuperman said tens of thousands of small satellites could appear in low-Earth orbit over the next ten years.
The US military themselves are planning to deploy a grouping of several dozen satellites capable of detecting hypersonic weapons and gliders.
Satellites, even government ones, can exchange data only within their own grouping.
Space-BACN’s goal is to create low-cost optical communication terminals that would help bring together various groups of small satellites in low Earth orbit.
The military wants the data transfer rate of such a terminal to be 100 gigabits per second.
At the same time, no more than 100 watts of energy should be enough for it, and it should cost less than one hundred thousand dollars.
The program envisions a low-cost optical aperture capable of emitting and receiving all waves in the C-band, a modem that supports various waveforms
DARPA also wats an architecture that could automate interactions between government and commercial satellites.
- Darpa.mil: https://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2021-09-13