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CACI Completes Interoperability Testing for its Optical Terminal for the SDA 

By Rachel Jewett | September 20, 2023

      CACI CrossBeam system for satellite crosslinks. Photo: CACI/SA Photonics

      CACI International Inc has completed interoperability testing for its optical communication terminal for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 1 data relay and tracking network. CACI said in a Monday announcement that it has the first SDA-compliant terminal to establish a consistent data link with the reference modem.

      These were tests on the ground, done with the SDA as part of a team led by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor for 42 satellites for the Tranche 1 Transport Layer, set for launch in late 2024. 

      CACI said the successful testing demonstrates performance to the SDA’s version 3.0 standard and allows its CrossBeam optical communications terminal to move forward with interoperability testing with optical payloads. 

      “Our proven, mature, and low-risk technology, combined with our advancements in scalable, U.S.-based manufacturing capacity, will rapidly transform sensing and communications for national security missions,” said Todd Probert, president of National Security and Innovative Solutions at CACI. “Our innovations in optical communications help the SDA build the foundation of future warfighting infrastructure and resilient networks across all domains.”

      SA Photonics developed the CrossBeam optical communications terminal, and CACI acquired the company in 2021. The CrossBeam terminals demonstrated space-to-space optical communications links in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) last year as part of the Mandrake II mission in partnership with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the SDA.