USAF issues 5G for Space Data Transport RFI
On February 18, the U.S. Air Force issued a request for information (RFI) for 5G for Space Data Transport (SDT). Responses are due by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on March 18. The Cross Mission Ground and Communications Enterprise Directorate (SMC/ECX) is the office responsible for enterprise data transport.
The goal of this RFI is to provide ECX with information from US and coalition industry, academics, and federal research institutions regarding their capability to provide Fifth Generation (5G) networking, radio frequency access, mobility support, and related big data adapted to the needs of US space systems.
SMC/ECX is conducting market research to determine how to leverage rapidly emerging 5G technologies to support space data transport (SDT) terrestrially, in space, and in the space-ground links. Any aspect of 5G applied to any aspect of space systems is of potential interest. However, in response to this RFI we are particularly interested in your capabilities to address any or all of the following areas.
The development is focused on these potential areas:
1. MIMO: 5G Multiple-Input and Multiple Output (MIMO) or massive MIMO to enhance communication links between earth and US spacecraft and/or between spacecraft.
2. Millimeter Wave (MMW): How could compact, low-cost, high gain array antennas and data links in the 5G millimeter wave (MMW) bands between 24 and 71 GHz be deployed to provide data networking in space?
3. Radio Access Network (RAN) Slicing: There are multiple 5G technologies for RAN slicing. How could 5G RAN Slicing technology be adapted to connect a Space Operations Center (SOC) through terrestrial networks into a space network and then to a given spacecraft?
4. Network Slice Orchestration (NSO): How could the Government employ 5G cloud-based and hybrid (cloud and on-premises) NSO to manage dozens, hundreds or potentially even thousands of RAN slices of the type envisioned in area 3 above?
5. AI/ML/DL: 5G includes many applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Which 5G AI/ML tools and techniques would provide message stream recognition and content analysis to prioritize stream data rate by content type, potentially storing data in a Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) node and sending it later? How can we enhance the TRL level for deep learning (DL) for accurate, automatic content recognition, categorization and prioritization?
6. Trustworthy Autonomous Networks: To what degree should the USSF look ahead to 6G Intelligent Radio (IR) with Cognitive Radio, autonomic networking, and orchestration OODA Loops?
7. Cyber Security: As networks become more highly integrated, federated, and orchestrated, the complexity of control increases. What 5G cybersecurity technologies are applicable to protecting such control systems from unauthorized access and manipulation?
8. IoST: What are your capabilities and interests in the 5G Internet of Space Things (IoST)?
9. MEC: As indicated above, Multi-tenant Edge Computing (MEC) is transforming the 4G from smart bit-pipes into distributed computing infrastructure, e.g. for self-driving automobiles. What are the best opportunities for MEC in space? What are the opportunities for MEC in ground support networks?
10. 5G Space to Ground Networks: 5G has defined specifications for 5G in space. What are your capabilities to provide 5G services from space?
11. Network topology: How and where 5G technology could be used in the network topology when building out a terrestrial network (e.g. meshONE-T) comprised of diverse mediums (e.g. optical fiber, copper, etc.)? An example of this could be utilizing cost efficient 5G for the “last mile” or traverse restricted areas in place of laying new fiber.
Full information is available here.