Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

NASA Develops Space Communications User Terminal

Image credit: nasa.gov

For almost 40 years, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has relied on its Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS) system to provide near-constant communication links between the ground and satellites in low-Earth orbit. However, the infrastructure was not originally designed for interoperability between networks.

Therefore, NASA developed a new Wideband Ka-band communications terminal, which is a transceiver that operates over government and commercial Ka-band spectrum allocations. This roaming function will give spacecraft the ability to seamlessly connect to various communications networks and allow for multi-access points of services, lower latency, and lower costs.

The versatile capabilities demonstrated by the terminal bring NASA a step closer to space communications interoperability for future NASA near-Earth missions. The new terminal will support NASA’s plans to rely exclusively on commercial providers for near-Earth space communications and navigation operations by the mid-2030s and further foster an affordable and robust space commercialisation path in the United States.

This new Wideband Ka terminal prototype will allow satellites to connect with multiple space relay networks, including TDRS, enabling NASA’s transition from government to commercial space communications services. It will also allow missions to reduce risk and costs by offering competitive choices for where they get their commercial satellite service. A high Technology Readiness Level terminal capable of operating on a wide assortment of networks truly takes advantage of commercial investments in space.

NASA recently concluded a month of trailblazing tests that successfully demonstrated communications over-the-air with the Wideband Ka terminal prototype for the very first time. A groundbreaking roaming experiment was the highlight of testing, where services switched in real-time between NASA’s TDRS system and Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Satellite.

This successful demonstration provides proof of initial roaming capabilities and confidence that commercial services can one day support future space users. The Wideband Ka terminal prototype is at a sufficiently high technology readiness level that the next technology transitional phase will be to demonstrate in a space environment.

The Wideband terminal prototype will now undergo additional ground testing and demonstrations with various commercial service providers. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation program is planning a flight demonstration, currently targeted for 2025, to evaluate in-orbit roaming capabilities across multiple government and commercial networks.

According to a page, NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio manages the planning, formulation, implementation, and integration of technology projects and communication system analysis capabilities supporting NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) capabilities. SCaN serves as the headquarters Program Office for all NASA’s space communications activities, including ground-based facilities and services, and is responsible for the development of space communications and navigation technology.

NASA’s requirements for access to the radio frequency spectrum began with the formation of the agency in 1958 and have evolved and grown over the decades to include a wide array of programs and applications. Spectrum Management is an agency-wide function performed by NASA Glenn Research Center that includes both domestic and international coordination and protection of spectrum used for communications and passive sensing. This function involves the development and execution of spectrum policy and relevant analysis functions.

The technology projects include:

  • Cognitive Communications: Autonomy and resiliency techniques applicable to space communication links, networks, and provider scheduling
  • HDTN High: rate delay- and disruption-tolerant networking capabilities for in-space communications relays and user terminals
  • iROC: A beaconless optical transceiver with integrated Ka-band capabilities for deep space deployment
  • Lunar LTE Studies: Metrology and analysis in support of integrating terrestrial LTE communication for use in the lunar environment
  • Quantum Communication: Metrology and development of multiple quantum communication techniques, including quantum memory
  • RealTOR: A high-rate, real-time optical communication receiver capability for ground implementation
  • SKOUT: An Active Phased Array antenna for near-earth Ka-band communications
  • STRS: Ongoing refinement of NASA-STD-4009, the open architecture standard for NASA software-defined radios
  • Wideband: A Ka-band software-defined radio terminal capable of seamless communication with government and commercial provider networks

As reported by OpenGov Asia, NASA is explicitly seeking international collaboration and outsourcing key technology solutions to the private sector. Therefore, NASA was cooperating with New Zealand on peaceful exploration and activity in outer space. The accords are an international agreement between governments that set principles around the exploration of space, including support of NASA’s Artemis programme to return humans to the Moon in 2024.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and consulting services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,800 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently, and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity, and service. For more information, visit www.ibm.com