NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. – The US Space Force invites industry to view and comment on new digital models that will lead to the further development of the service’s capabilities, officials said at the 2021 Air, Space and Cyber conference .
The service will host a trade show on October 27, said Space Warfighting Analysis Center director Andrew Cox. While the classified event will focus on SWAC’s first force design, which relates to the military space missile warning and tracking business, Cox said the event is intended to bring the industry into the development process earlier while introducing businesses to the new digital approach to service for requirements and engineering.
“We’re going to reveal our thought process on how we think the future design of the force will look,” Cox said.
The aim of the new process is to reduce lengthy requirements procedures. This lengthy effort, according to Lt. Gen. William Liquori, deputy chief of space operations for strategy, plans, programs, requirements and analysis, often takes a year or two, resulting in a voluminous document. Such a process is far too long for the rapidly changing space environment, he added.
The revamped process kicks off with SWAC, which develops a force design using high-fidelity digital models of the space environment and counter-space threats posed by perceived adversaries. This conception of force is then passed on to Liquori’s office, which translates it into a set of digital requirements which in turn is passed on to the Acquisitions team. The Space Force Acquisitions team then works with industry, using digital engineering to create models of space systems that can meet these requirements.
The digital twins of these models are shared with the SWAC, where they are connected to the high-fidelity simulation that was used to design the test requirements. That way, Space Force officials can see how the proposed satellites will perform in a contested environment in a high-fidelity simulation before manufacturing begins.
The industry will get its first look at SWAC’s models at the Oct. 27 business show, Cox said.
“I’m going to provide you with all of our threat models (and when I say ‘threat’ I mean all the terrestrial and space counter-space threats that we expect to see in the 2030s), targets (which means what that we are trying to detect) and the force designs that we believe best detect these targets while surviving in this threat environment that I just gave you. have never had it before, ”Cox added.
Chief of Space Operations Gen. Jay Raymond announced earlier this year that the Space Force wanted to be the world’s first fully digital service, but this is one of the first times that officials have explained in detail how that process will work and what they will share. with industry.
The Space Force has already introduced digital engineering requirements into its contracts, starting with the next block of next-generation persistent infrared missile warning satellites. The contractors have been tasked with designing digital models of satellites, which will be tested in a new orbital regime that could significantly change the architecture of the national missile warning company.
Last month, Space Force officials claimed the service was making progress in building its digital engineering infrastructure. Lt. Gen. Mike Guetlein, who heads the new Space Systems Command, said the acquisitions community is fully embracing digital.
“These data standards are under development. The platform is under development. The hardware stack is under development, so that we can all communicate on a common framework, ”Guetlein said at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. “And now we’re starting to talk about: what does this digital platform look like that’s going to take us forward? “
“And now, with the creation of the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, we’re actually sharing the models that we use to do our simulations and the models that we expect your digital twins to connect to,” he added. “So the industry can now play with their designs and understand the environments that we believe will be challenged in space. “
Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.