WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency is kicking off development of an on-board “battle management system” for its planned satellite mesh network, issuing a draft solicitation to launch a software prototyping project.
SDA’s Battle Management Command, Control, and Communications (BMC3) layer will play the role of robotic traffic cop, providing “automated space-based battle management through command and control, tasking, mission processing and dissemination” for the agency’s still-developing National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), according to the agency’s website. The NDSA will comprise multiple satellites constellations in low Earth orbit linked together to form a mesh network. Alongside the battle management layer in that mesh, a set of data relay satellites called the Transport Layer will serve as the communications backbone for the Defense Department’s Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) concept.
The draft BMC3 Application Factory & SIL Program Solicitation, published Wednesday, is seeking “an industry partner to develop, implement, and sustain BMC3 software development, integration, testing and deployment capabilities as part of the NDSA,” the solicitation states.
Specifically, the project will involve several moving parts:
BMC3 Module: Development of “a space edge processing capability located on the NDSA’s Transport layer and is designed to conduct mission processing on-orbit.” The module will be tested on the Tranche 1 set of Transport Layer satellites, due to be launched in 2024. SDA in February awarded funds worth a total of $1.8 billion to York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Space and Northrop Grumman Strategic Space Systems to each build 42 prototype Tranche 1 birds.
BMC3 Application Factory: Development and sustainment of “a DevSecOps continuous integration/continuous development pipeline that provides governance and infrastructure to enable BMC3 software applications to develop, integrate, test, and deploy into the NDSA.”
Secure Interoperable-Middleware Layer (SIL): A “key enabler” for the Application Factory that “will provide BMC3 application developers a secure middleware capability, enabling the applications to integrate and run on the BMC3 hardware.”
BMC3 Ecosystem Lead: Providing software/hardware integration functions, “with the responsibility for leading and coordinating development activities within the BMC3 ecosystem.”
Interested vendors, assuming they understood all that, have until Dec. 9 to provide a bid.