DIU seeks hybrid space architecture projects

The Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) posted a solicitation for hybrid space architecture projects. Responses are due by October 18.

The Department of Defense (DoD) seeks a hybrid space architecture to integrate emergent commercial space sensor and communications capabilities with U.S. Government space systems while incorporating best-in-class commercial practices to secure and defend the network across multiple domains. The architecture will be secure, scalable, responsive, and information centric. It must also be flexible to remain relevant and trusted during times of rapid technological change and dynamic threat environments. Software-defined controls, interfaces, and security are foundational to sustaining this agility. This architecture must be demonstrated as a payload (hosted or bespoke) capable of communicating across disparate government and commercial networks. To realize this demonstration, four domains have been identified: multi-path communications, variable trust protocol, multi-source data fusion, and cloud-based analytics. Each of these domains can function individually and independently while combining to fulfill the overall architecture.

Multi-Path Communications

This domain seeks to demonstrate the timely transport of information across multiple networks at multiple classification levels without compromising information assurance or cybersecurity. Dynamic data routing through asynchronous disruption tolerant networks requires switching between assorted orbital military and commercial networks, downlinking through diverse groundstations, and interfacing with cloud architectures within U.S. and allied and partner territories. Modular, low size, weight, and power (SWaP) hardware and open-standard software will allow rapid adoption across commercial and military networks and ease of integration for military internet-of-things applications. Tactically deployable, low-observable links will allow warfighters to safely use the network at any time from any location.

Variable Trust Protocol

This domain will enable end users to adjust trust factors commensurate with risk or mission application. This includes consideration of both data sources and network paths. High trust may be required for weapons employment, whereas low trust may facilitate improved access to open source information for situational awareness. Trust factors for network paths include probability of intercept, probability of detection, antijam capabilities, link and end-to-end encryption, and zero-trust continuous authentication.

Multi-Source Data Fusion

This domain will leverage multiple sources of intelligence data available to the U.S. Government now (and in the future), including a common set of tools for end users to request data. Tactical tasking and scheduling tools will enable battlefield exploitation of existing on-orbit assets. Cloud solutions will allow secure low-latency data storage and retrieval. Common standards and interfaces will simplify ingesting, storing, processing, and disseminating intelligence.

Cloud-Based Analytics

Individual analytics tools have been developed under various programs. This domain will port those tools and foster new tools to function on the U.S. Government cloud with data from the multi-source interface, including the possibility of edge-processing analytics on orbit or at the user terminal. Tools include image tagging and sorting and pattern-of-life analysis; voice and video communications tools; position, navigation, and timing (PNT) tools; radiation mapping and modeling tools; and weather mapping and modeling tools.

This prototype project will be a multi-phase effort that may commence with an initial study phase, risk reduction prototyping phase, and cross-domain collaboration opportunities as needed. Commercial satellite manufacturers representing the remote sensing, communications, PNT, and integration services sectors, and information companies specializing in software defined network architecture design and implementation are encouraged to participate in order to realize the full potential of a hybrid space (internet) architecture. Teaming arrangements for partial solutions are encouraged or may be facilitated through this solicitation process. The prototype schedule and cost may be considered independently of launch schedule and cost. In their proposal, companies are requested to describe their vision for the greater architecture and identify the partnerships necessary to realize it.

Review the full DIU hybrid space solicitation.

Source: DIU

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