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Ball Aerospace Advances Testbed Development for DARPA Hallmark Program

By Adrienne Harebottle | April 27, 2018

DARPA’s Hallmark program seeks to revolutionize U.S. space enterprise command and control. Photo Credit: DARPA

Ball Aerospace has successfully completed the second of five evaluations of the Space Evaluation and Analysis Capability (SEAC) testbed it is developing for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency‘s (DARPA’s) Hallmark program. The program is advancing technologies that deliver real-time space-domain awareness to command and control and protect space assets.

The role of the Hallmark program SEAC testbed is to support multiple tools and technologies developed by various companies and academic institutions that will make up the system’s technical capabilities and include operator interfaces, simulation and scenario playback capabilities to stimulate these tools. Ball is embracing DARPA’s “zero-integrator” approach to the SEAC testbed design, which eliminates the single-contractor integration bottleneck in traditional acquisition models, and is implementing modern DevOps software development practices that empower external tool developers to deliver new capabilities faster without risking system security or stability by developing and testing in an operations-like environment.

“To assess the effectiveness of the testbed and tools during the recent evaluation event, Ball simulated three different government-provided scenarios that required a timely analysis and response,” said Carl Fischer, chief technologist of Advanced ISR Solutions at Ball Aerospace. “Leveraging our development environment and simulated operation floor, Ball demonstrated the speed at which the system can be updated.”

Tool developers independently identified areas for improvement and delivered software updates in less than three hours. Then within an hour, Ball engineers deployed the updates and were able to show that the additional functionality was available in the system.