L3Harris Technologies has successfully completed a technology demonstration for the U.S. Space Force satellite communication system, which will improve communications with the agency’s growing number of satellites.
Under a Defense Innovation Unit prototype contract, L3Harris developed a multi-band multi-mission (MBMM) phased array ground antenna system and integrated it with the Space Force’s Satellite Communication Network to demonstrate 16 simultaneous satellite contacts.
The MBMM system’s all-digital architecture can scale to support hundreds of concurrent satellite connections from a single phased array antenna system, reducing the physical footprint needed for ground antennas and lowering the infrastructure cost per satellite contact. Traditional parabolic or other antennas can contact only one satellite at a time.
“The MBMM demonstrations were a complete success that showcased the advancements in phased array technology and relevance for satellite command and control with live DOD systems. It has reinvigorated interest in the MBMM program as a key part of the overall space architecture,” said Col. Wallace “Rhett” Turnbull III, director, Cross Mission Ground and Communications Enterprise, Space and Missile Systems Center. “Capabilities like those recently demonstrated may play an important role in meeting the growing demand for satellite control capacity by providing more affordable and resilient access to Space Force satellite systems.”
“L3Harris developed an all-digital phased array antenna technology to meet the enormous ground system capacity demands created by the increasing number of satellite missions,” said Ed Zoiss, president of Space and Airborne Systems at L3Harris. “This successful demonstration from L3Harris readies our nation with a capable and affordable advanced satellite communications approach today for the further proliferation of satellites in the near future."
The L3Harris demonstration successfully confirmed live contacts with Space Force satellites across multiple orbital regimes, performing the demonstration with support from Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. and Mercury Systems.