Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc., a national security solutions provider, announced on Feb. 18 the release of its quantumCMD, a lightweight, portable command and control (C2) system designed specifically for small satellite missions.
quantumCMD consolidates telemetry, tracking and command functions in a single off-the-shelf product.
As the industry seeks ways to reduce the cost of satellite missions, commercial and government operators are looking increasingly toward solutions, such as small satellites — also known by names such as microsats, CubeSats and nanosats — which are compact alternatives than can be built and deployed at lower costs and with less risk.
While traditional satellite missions can cost between $300 million to $1 billion or more, small satellite missions can cost between $1 million and $2 million, or even far less, says a news release issued by Kratos. Their many recent success have made the growth of the “smallsat” community one of the most exciting and impactful trends in the industry.
quantumCMD brings the C2 aspects of the mission in line with the economics and scale required for small satellites. The industry’s first commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS), pre-integrated, turnkey smallsat C2 appliance, quantumCMD, includes all needed hardware and software for small satellite operations, says the company. Among its advanced features are complete automation capabilities that support a dynamic concept of operations (CONOPs), or even fully-automated “lights-out” operations, if desired.
Additionally, the built-in HTML5-based Web server and browser-based interface enable anywhere access and operations whether from a satellite operations center (SOC), a laboratory, field installation or other environment. Operators can use the built in, drag-and-drop interface to quickly and easily create dashboards and a common operational picture (COP) across multiple satellites, including a wide variety of alarms, charts, graphs and other visual tools, even video feeds.
Because it uses accepted industry standards for functions — such as data ingest, equipment control, and data export, right out of the box — quantumCMD supports most satellites and ground equipment used by the smallsat community today. This standards-based architecture also means that quantumCMD requires minimal customization, making it well suited to the shortened schedules, focused capabilities and reduced budgets that characterize small satellite missions.
“quantumCMD’s use of standards-based interfaces such as XML Telemetry and Command Exchange (XTCE) means that it not only keeps initial mission costs down, it also dramatically lowers total cost of ownership across mission and multi-mission lifecycles,” said Victor Gardner, product manager for quantumCMD. “In addition, quantumCMD helps lower risk and meets the demanding price and schedule constraints of smallsat mission by providing an integrated, operationally ready C2 system.”