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Ground Based Antenna for Tactical Edge Communication with SOF Space Assets




The objective of this topic is to develop antenna technology supporting compact, ground based systems to communicate with SOF space assets.


SOCOM is interested in improving its capabilities to communicate with their space based intelligence collection, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) cubesat platforms using a compact, ground based antenna system. Although existing national assets and commercial services can provide ISR data to SOCOM users, SOCOM requires more abundant SOF peculiar capabilities for rapid collection and dissemination of actionable data at the tactical edge. Special Operations Forces (SOF) place a premium on technologies that are small, lightweight, rugged, modular, multiuse, easy to use, have low power consumption, require minimum maintenance, and that are designed for operation in extreme environments (examples include: temperature, line of sight blockages such as trees, mountains, buildings, Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), wind, rain and snow).


Offerors shall conduct a feasibility study to assess the art of the possible to satisfy the requirements specified in the above "Description" section. As an outcome of this feasibility study, Offerors should include a concept of operations and analyze/quantify potential data that can be provided. Offerors should also include a preliminary antenna design and address all viable system design options with respective specifications. Offerors should justify the scientific and technical merit of the technology, especially for components that are innovative or otherwise higher-risk.


For the Phase II effort, Offerors shall develop and demonstrate the prototype system determined to be the most feasible solution during the Phase I feasibility study. The objective of this phase is to advance the technology readiness of the ground based antenna system as much as possible, by refining the design, building a prototype, and testing the prototype in a relevant environment. SOCOM will coordinate with the Offeror to identify suitable ground station hardware and software for integration of the prototype antenna with representative.


This system could be used in a broad range of military applications where there are requirements for timely receipt of data through communications with spaceborne assets from remote, austere or unimproved locations. A potential transition path could involve fielding of this antenna to communicate with on tens or hundreds of satellites in a coordinated multi-plane constellation, achieving frequent contact times and unprecedented reductions in data delivery latencies. Depending on the nature and specifics of the antenna, the capabilities developed could also be used in other missions by commercial companies or other government organizations.

KEYWORDS: SOCOM, ground, antenna, communication, satellite, nanosatellite, cubesat.


[2] NASA General Environmental Verification Standard (GEVS), GFSC-STD-7000, Rev A, Goddard Space Flight Center,

[1] CubeSat Design Specification, California Polytechnic State University,

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