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Viasat to Integrate Encryptor into Link 16 LEO Spacecraft 

By Rachel Jewett | June 2, 2021
Viasat Link 16. Photo: Viasat

Viasat Link 16 network visualization. Photo: Viasat

Viasat plans to integrate its In-line Network Encryptor (INE) into the Link 16-capable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite that it is developing for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. 

In 2019, Viasat was contracted to deliver and test what it called the first-ever Link 16-capable LEO spacecraft for the AFRL’s Space Vehicles XVI program. Link 16 is a military tactical data link network. Blue Canyon Technologies is building the bus for the project. 

The INE will provide communications security and additional cybersecurity capabilities initially for mission data transfer. Viasat said it will support speeds exceeding 100 Mbps aggregate throughput. The INE will also be able to secure the data flow between an unclassified spacecraft bus and the classified processing domain. Future evolutions are expected to secure user data; manage Telemetry, Tracking and Command (TT&C); and offer inter-satellite communications. 

“Our focus is on revolutionizing space-based cryptographic and cybersecurity solutions by moving away from embedded, fixed single-application ASICs and moving to ‘plug and play,’ fully-programmable, multi-functional and highly-efficient military-grade cryptos that can be rapidly deployed by supporting commercial off the shelf technology enhancements for small satellites,” Craig Miller, president of Viasat Government Systems commented in the release.