COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. Raytheon Co. provided an initial look at the software environment it is preparing in a bid to provide the integrated ground stations and networks for the upcoming Transformational Satellite, or TSAT, network.
The demonstration at the National Space Symposium here is part of an effort to promote the team of Raytheon, Boeing Co., General Dynamics, and AT&T in bidding for the TSAT Mission Operations System, or TMOS network.
Karl Jensen, senior manager for space systems in Raytheon's intelligence and information systems group, said that TMOS often gets overlooked because of its $2 billion price tag, a fraction of the TSAT satellite's estimated $12 billion line-item cost, "but the ground system and communications network is what gives the Transformational Communications Architecture the ability to act as a broadband, on-demand global Internet based on IP."
The Raytheon team is competing with one led by Lockheed-Martin and Northrop-Grumman. Raytheon is working with such network-oriented subprime companies as Cisco Systems Inc., Network Associates Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Opnet, ITT Information Systems, and SRC.
Raytheon has experience serving large ground-station operations with multi-faceted facilities. In Aurora, Colo., a sprawling corporate campus handles intelligence processing for nearby Buckley Air Force Base, secure Web hosting for corporate clients, and ground-station work for a joint polar weather satellite being developed by NASA, National Reconnaissance Office, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Jensen said it wasn't just the experience with ground stations that would aid the Raytheon team, but the fact that all the prime and subprime contractors were developers with experience in working with Internet Protocol networks, including networks that incorporate voice over IP, processing of streaming video, and the intelligence equivalent of "triple-play" access networks.
The impact on network-based processing for using intelligence on the battlefield would be obvious after TSAT is launched in 2013, Jensen said. A visual image that would take 2 minutes to process with the Milstar II satellite system would take less than a second with TSAT. A radar image from a Global Hawk UAV, or a multi-gigabyte radar image from space-based radar, would take 12 and 88 minutes, respectively, to process in current networks, and less than a second with the TSAT network.
TMOS stations could be built before the satellites are launched, and used in conjunction with existing nodes in the Global Information Grid " Bandwidth Extension project. After the satellites are launched, the number of fixed ground stations and mobile terminals accessing TSAT will be determined by the needs of intelligence agencies and regional commanders.
Raytheon senior project manager Chuck Corwin said that the company modified an existing Equinox satellite service-provisioning package, optimizing it for a bandwidth allocation testbed run out of Marlboro, Mass. Raytheon worked with AT&T Government Solutions to add a network management platform developed for AT&T. IP bandwidth can be requested and provisioned, with service level agreements similar to those from Internet Service Providers. Some level of provisioning authority could be granted to regional commanders in a hierarchical fashion.<.p>
For example, a streaming video of a UAV following a formation of tanks could receive a low priority (and choppy video) if the information is being used in a test environment. However, if the same streaming video were being used for active targeting, the commander could request that streaming video always receive high priority in IP Quality of Service buffering, and in network bandwidth guarantees.
Carl Tegen, director of defense networks at AT&T, said that his company would like to run the TMOS network as an ISP with an all-IP infrastructure as much as possible, though there is bound to be plenty of legacy ATM and time-division multiplexed traffic brought into the TMOS network.
Anne Michael, who directs strategic initiatives in General Dynamics' C4 Systems, pointed out that her company works on such "communications on the move" programs in the Defense Department as the voiceband Mobile User Objective System project, based on a 3G infrastructure, "so we will deal with the reality of IP and legacy traffic types for a long time."
The TMOS contract is expected to be awarded in October.