Space Development Agency Calls For Satellite “Combat Management System” Proposals

The Space Development Agency will begin launching its Tranche 1 Transport Layer communications mesh network in 2024. (Image: Northrop Grumman)

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency is kicking off development of an onboard “combat management system” for its planned satellite mesh network, releasing a draft RFP to start a software prototyping project.

SDA Battle Management Command, Control and Communications Layer (BMC3) will act as a robotic traffic cop, providing “automated management of space battles through command and control, dispatch, mission processing, and broadcast” for the still-developing agency National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), according to the agency’s website. The NDSA will comprise several constellations of satellites in low Earth orbit linked together to form a mesh network. Along with the combat management layer in this mesh, a set of data relay satellites called the transport layer will serve as the communications backbone for the Department of Defense. All Domains Joint Command and Control (JADC2) concept.

Draft BMC3 Application Factory and SIL Program Solicitationpublished on Wednesday, is seeking “an industry partner to develop, implement, and maintain capabilities to develop, integrate, test, and deploy BMC3 software under the NDSA,” the solicitation states.

Specifically, the project will involve several moving parts:

BMC3 module: Development of an “Edge of Space Processing Capability located on the transport layer of the NDSA and designed to perform in-orbit mission processing”. The module will be tested on the Tranche 1 set of transport layer satellites, 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 build 42 Tranche 1 bird prototypes each.

BMC3 Application Factory: Developing and maintaining a “DevSecOps Continuous Integration/Continuous Development pipeline that provides the governance and infrastructure for BMC3 software applications to develop, integrate, test, and deploy within the NDSA”.

Secure Interoperable Layer (SIL): A “key enabler” for the Application Factory that “will provide BMC3 application developers with a secure middleware capability, enabling applications to integrate and run on BMC3 hardware.”

Responsible for the BMC3 ecosystem: Provide software/hardware integration functions, “with responsibility for directing and coordinating development activities within the BMC3 ecosystem”.

Interested sellers, assuming they understand all of this, have until December 9 to submit an offer.

Margie D. Carlisle