US Space Force Awards BlueHalo $1.4B to Bolster Communications for GEO Satellites
The U.S. Space Force Space Rapid Capabilities Office in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has awarded BlueHalo a $1.4 billion contract for the Satellite Communications Augmentation Resource (SCAR) program.
“SCAR will address the critical U.S. Space Command requirement to rapidly, responsively and affordably augment satellite control capacity for the Satellite Control Network [SCN], as it provides tactical control links to U.S. Space Force satellites,” SpRCO said on May 24. “SCAR will increase communications capacity tenfold for satellites in geosynchronous orbit through transportable, electronically steerable phased array antennas, and will do so in a scalable way as the demands on the SCN rapidly grow in the coming years.”
SpRCO said that the contract comes under Other Transaction Authorities (OTA) rapid prototyping,
“The government sought to expand the space industrial base through an OTA to ensure maximum participation from both small and large, traditional and non-traditional, vendors to leverage innovative commercial technologies for a prototype,” the office said.
BlueHalo, which has become known for its counter drone offerings, is a portfolio company of the private equity firm Arlington Capital Partners, which created the company in October 2020 through acquiring and combining five small defense companies to focus on space superiority, directed energy, missile defense, C4IR, cyber and intelligence mission solutions.
“The SCAR program will deliver premier satellite operations capability—maximizing automation, flexibility, and commonality while enabling continuous modernization,” BlueHalo said in a May 24 statement.
“BlueHalo’s advanced radio frequency (RF) solutions will serve as the key enabling technology for the SCAR program,” the company said. “The foundation of the program is BlueHalo’s proprietary Multi-band Software Defined Antenna (MSDA) technology. BlueHalo’s MSDA is a phased array technology that simplifies mission operations through agile and re-configurable beamforming tiles. BlueHalo’s Broad Area Deployable Ground terminal enabling Resilient communication (BADGER) provides a multi-band and deployable ground communications system built upon the core MSDA technology. The system is extensible across multiple mission areas, enabling communications between multiple spatial, spectral, and temporal diverse targets.”
BlueHalo said that it is teaming with Kratos on SCAR and that Kratos is to provide its OpenSpace Platform, a software-defined satellite ground system that is to allow the rapid provision of new features.
Jonathan Moneymaker, the CEO of BlueHalo, suggested that the company’s BADGER design resulted from the threats posed by U.S. space systems by China and Russia.
“Between the rapid proliferation of new space satellite constellations at a relentless rate and the criticality of the U.S. maintaining its strategic advantage as a nation in space in the face of advancing adversaries, new technologies had to be brought to bear,” he said in the company statement. “This [SCAR] program will redefine our national capabilities for decades to come.”
BlueHalo is to build BADGER at the company’s new Albuquerque location.
Congress created SpRCO in the fiscal 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to field space systems within one to five years.