Space Force selects Johns Hopkins University to evaluate classified ground systems software

The Space Force has awarded a $10 million contract to Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab to evaluate the software and cybersecurity of ground systems being developed for a new classified satellite network. The ESS satellites are being developed for nuclear command control and communications, with the ground segment named Griffon. Lockheed Martin and Raytheon each won a $30 million contract to develop Griffon prototypes. Boeing and Northrop Grumman are developing competing satellite designs. Johns Hopkins University’s APL is the nation’s largest university-affiliated research center. The Defense Department plans to spend $6.5 billion on the ESS program over the next five years. The ESS satellites are intended to augment and eventually replace the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) network of nuclear-hardened geostationary satellites made by Lockheed Martin. The partnership with JHU/APL will help ensure that software and cyber best practices are utilized throughout the prototyping and demonstration phases.