Kratos and SES Successfully Demonstrates a Fully Virtualized SATCOM Ground System for the U.S. Army


Kratos and SES Successfully Demonstrates a Fully Virtualized SATCOM Ground System for the U.S. Army

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, a technology company in the defense, national security and global markets, and SES, a leader in global content connectivity solutions, have successfully executed a fully virtualized satellite communications (SATCOM) ground system demonstration for the U.S. Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command.

Kratos and SES successfully showed a flexible network architecture facilitating simultaneous communication pathways for resilient SATCOM. This virtualized and containerized architecture enables soldiers to position their radio frequency (RF) hardware and software-defined hubs anywhere globally. In an industry first, the demonstration showed seamless operation supporting satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) on a “make-before-break” mode over SES’s O3b MEO satellite network. Make-before-break is an essential capability for MEO and LEO satellite constellations referring to the ability to transfer communication sessions while the user transverses the coverage areas of different satellites.

The demonstration employed a remote terminal in Port St. Lucie, U.S., and a gateway in Lima, Peru, which connected to a software-defined Kratos OpenSpace vStar hub system located more than 3,000 miles away in Virginia, U.S., all orchestrated and conducted over SES’s O3b satellite network.

Military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) networks increasingly will need to support multiple missions and employ multi-orbit satellite networks while reacting far more quickly than today’s hardware-based ground system. Kratos OpenSpace Platform is the industry’s only commercially available, fully software-defined satellite ground system that provides the necessary reliability and agility needed for these modern operations. System efficiency was further enhanced by hosting the container-based OpenSpace hub on public cloud resources provided by SES.

Chris Badgett, Vice President of Technology for Kratos Space said, “As employed in this demonstration, OpenSpace is the first to leverage containers to orchestrate the transfer of communication sessions in a standards-based, open, COTS platform environment. Using a containerized architecture for this make-before-break handover is a significant advancement in SATCOM technology and shows how Kratos is leading SATCOM ground modernization by using commercial capabilities, including software and generic x86 servers, to streamline and enhance hub, gateway and remote terminals.”

Saba Wehbe, Senior Vice President, Service Engineering and Delivery of SES said, “SES’s software reconfigurable approach will future-proof ground systems and simplify the interoperability of multi-constellation, multi-orbit, multi-platform satellite services as well as standards-based integration with terrestrial networks. Showcasing a resilient software-defined network, characterized by the flexibility and agility critical to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) SATCOM modernization efforts, reinforces the importance of these features.”

Funding for this project was through the Network Cross-Functional Team (N-CFT) established by the Army Futures Command.

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