The U.S. military must be able to quickly establish situational awareness and execute operations in space. This complex task requires the military to track and manage the many thousands of objects that are moving at extreme velocities within the space domain. The information gathered from these operations must then be fused with land, air, sea, cyber, defense, and intelligence data in order to make critical, time-sensitive decisions to protect space assets while supporting terrestrial missions.
With a complex space environment and the need for timely decision making, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) started the Hallmark program – an effort that seeks to develop revolutionary tools and technologies to plan, assess, and execute U.S. military operations in space. To support this effort, DARPA awarded us a contract in 2017 to develop an innovative space evaluation and analysis testbed for the Hallmark program that would allow for tools to be developed and deployed to enable real-time space command and control.
As part of this contract we utilized our vast experience in space domain awareness to design and develop a state-of-the-art, flexible, scalable, and secure enterprise software architecture that would become the backbone of technology development and experimentation.
Since the contract award, our Hallmark software testbed recently completed two test events, marking the development program’s progress towards the goal of helping the military quickly evaluate and integrate technologies for space command and control. The evaluations completed full operational space scenarios through its applications.
“These evaluations established that the Hallmark testbed is capable of integrating applications on its framework,” said Ricardo Gonzalez, director of Space Systems at BAE Systems. “These scenarios may someday assist military commanders in obtaining space domain awareness to quickly asses, plan, and execute operation in space.”
Although the evaluation events mark the first steps in the Hallmark program, ultimately our testbed would support live data feeds from diverse sources and provide strong security and data protection for varying levels of classification, in addition to external interfaces to support air, cyber, land, and sea environments.
Our team will continue to host exercises to collect metrics for Hallmark’s evaluation team to meet the goals of the Hallmark program, as well as identify new and improved tools and technologies for potential future use by the Joint Space Operations Center and the National Space Defense Center.
DARPA Distribution Statement A: Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited