O3b MEO is a satellite constellation orbiting in Medium Earth orbit (MEO) and designed for telecommunications and data backhaul from remote locations
The U.S. Space Force (USSF)’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) successfully tested the Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW) over SES’s O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite communications constellation, during the period of Nov. 2-6, 2020.
PTW, a United States Government-owned, frequency-agnostic waveform capable of providing flexible, adaptive, anti-jam communications, is used by the Protected Anti-jam Tactical SATCOM (PATS) family of programs. Managed by SMC Space Development Corps, PATS is designed to provide the next-generation of reliable, robust, and secure communications to DoD and international allies.
This recent test, complemented by previous testing of PTW over DoD and commercial Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, demonstrates the viability of increasing overall PATS resilience by using both commercial and government satellite constellations across multiple orbits.
The test utilized Digital Engineering PTW modem prototypes developed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory as well as terminal antenna equipment and satellite resources provided by the SES Company. The test team successfully established the PTW link on each O3b satellite during its pass. Potential follow-on testing, in coordination with SES and the Luxembourg Ministry of Defence notionally planned for this summer, features modem upgrades to support a more seamless, reliable PTW service over O3b and guide future implementation by industry partners.
Planning has also begun to expand PTW testing to include O3b mPOWER, SES’s next-generation MEO constellation, which will offer significant enhancements beyond the existing system including an innovative planning system that allows dynamic allocation of bandwidth and power in near-real-time.
The Space and Missile Systems Center is the U.S. Space Force’s center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning, military space vehicle communications, defense meteorological space vehicles, range systems, space vehicle control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.