Ball Aerospace, Loft Federal and Microsoft to Team on Space Development Agency Program

The recent Space X launch of SDA Tranche 0 opened has kicked off the development of government/DOD manage proliferated architecture to support operation in the future. Tranche O will consists 28 satellite of with the goal of demonstrating missile tracking and data transport from. With eyes to the future, SDA has commissioned Microsoft, Ball Aerospace and Loft Federal to support The Space Development Agency’s National Defense Space Architecture Experimental Testbed program—NExT. Scheduled for launch in late 2024, Ball and Loft will work together on the 10 satellites that will make up the orbital component of the test architecture, space craft construction and integration. Microsoft will provide cloud and secure ground station infrastructure as well as productivity solutions. NExT is a standalone experiment, not part of the NDSA Tranche architecture. It will serve as a test bed for operations that could be transferred to the larger more connected Tranche 1, digital transport layer.

Microsoft’s solution for NExT is the Azure ground station and Government secure cloud which will provide data handling up top secret classifications. The transfer of data from the ground station to the cloud is currently air gapped. Although not the most efficient having the same centrally managed infrastructure should provide a increase in data throughput.  Through NExT, together the SDA and US Space Force will securely operate a government-owned satellite constellation with Azure Orbital Ground Station’s global network for the first time.

With an eye on the ever-evolving space cybersecurity threat, Microsoft is leaning heavily upon its relationship as a founding member of the The Space Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). They plan to employ the ISACs watch center’s collaborative environment to provide visualization of environmental conditions and threat information. This will enable rapid detection, assessment and response to space weather events, vulnerabilities, incidents, and threats to space systems. The Watch Center’s consists of 10 analysts with reach back through the Azure cloud architecture.

Source: Ball Aerospace, Loft Federal and Microsoft to Team on Space Development Agency Program

Source: Azure Space technologies advance digital transformation across government agencies