Kratos Defense & Security Solutions and global content connectivity solutions provider SES have demonstrated a fully virtualised satellite communications (SATCOM) ground system for the US Army. 

As part of this demonstration, carried out for the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command, Kratos and SES employed a remote terminal at two different locations, in Port St Lucie, US, and a gateway in Lima, Peru. 

The terminals were connected to a Kratos OpenSpace vStar hub system, a fully software-defined satellite ground system available commercially, which was placed over 3,000 miles away in Virginia, US. 

All these systems were orchestrated and carried out over O3b satellite network from SES.  

Through this demonstration, the two companies showcased a “flexible network architecture” that allows for simultaneous communication pathways, enhancing the resilience of SATCOM.  

With the help of this virtualised and containerised architecture, soldiers can deploy their radio frequency (RF) hardware and software-defined hubs anywhere in the world. 

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Besides, for the first time, the demonstration featured seamless operation to support satellites in the medium earth orbit (MEO) on a “make-before-break” mode abroad SES’s O3b MEO satellite network. 

The companies described make-before-break as a critical capability for both MEO and low earth orbit satellite constellations, referring to the ability of transmitting communication sessions as the user moves across different satellites’ coverage areas.  

The efficiency of the system was further enhanced by hosting the OpenSpace hub on SES’ public cloud resources.  

SES Service Engineering and Delivery senior vice-president Saba Wehbe 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 US Department of Defense SATCOM modernisation efforts, reinforces the importance of these features.” 

The funding for this project was provided by the Network Cross-Functional Team under the US Army Futures Command.