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Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

US Army Space Company Replaces Communication System with Portable Alternative

Friday, January 15th, 2021

FORT CARSON, Colo. – The 1st Space Battalion’s 4th Space Company is trading in their old ground satellite terminals for a lightweight, portable option – the Ground Antenna Transmit and Receive.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Carlos Gil, network management technician, 4th Space Company, said the GATR‘s portable design will provide the company the satellite terminal mobility Soldiers need in theater.

“It’s a lightweight, portable and durable system that will be beneficial in remote areas,” Gil said. “We can pack it in just two cases and we can set up in 30 minutes or less.”

4th Space Company provides support to geographical combatant commanders and U.S. Strategic Command by supplying critical information and timely data on the health and status of various satellites, ensuring reliable communication channels. This means being able to communicate from anywhere, even remote locations difficult to reach in large vehicles.

The GATR is replacing the company’s Secure Internet Router/Non-Secure Internet Protocol Router Access Point ground satellite terminals, which weigh 300-400 pounds and are typically transported in the back of high-mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicles or helicopters.

The GATR, consisting of a flexible, inflatable ball and a dish, weighs approximately 25 pounds and can fit into two cases the size of checked airport baggage. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nathan Paquette, a 4th Space Company network management technician, said it is small and light enough for Soldiers to carry.

“The antenna is easily deployable and provides the same high-bandwidth satellite communications as the larger, heavier SNAP ground satellite terminals,” Paquette said.

The company recently completed a 10-day training session to become familiar with assembling and operating the new system. All three companies in 1st Space Battalion will receive GATRs for field communications.

1st Space Battalion, which generates and provides space combat power for Army and joint forces to conduct global and continuous multi-domain planning and operations, is assigned to the 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command

By SFC Aaron Rognstad (USASMDC)

I MEF Information Group, NIWC Pacific Put Next-generation Technology to the Test

Saturday, January 2nd, 2021

Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group and personnel from Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific conducted characterization testing of the Mobile User Objective System at Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity, on Camp Pendleton, California, in September 2020.

MUOS is a satellite communications system that provides voice and data communications for U.S. service members, anytime and anywhere in the world.

The testing supported PMW 146, the Navy’s Communications Satellite Program Office, which reports to Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence and Space Systems.

The focus was on three areas of satellite communications: susceptibility of detection and geolocation of MUOS transmissions; susceptibility of detection and geolocation of legacy transmissions; and the performance of the MUOS radio in the presence of in-band radio-frequency interference.

“The purpose was to test the capabilities of the system, in a field environment, in a manner that Marines employ the system,” said Gunnery Sgt. Christopher Meser, the electromagnetic space operations chief at I MIG. “The testing allowed us to identify gaps and determine if the underlying issues were related to the equipment, training or procedures.”

Aside from testing various frequencies and equipment sets, one of the key takeaways from the event was furthering Navy-Marine Corps integration with the MUOS.

“This is part of supporting naval integration; being able to understand we are key stakeholders, both Navy and Marine Corps,” said Meser. “They provide the technical expertise, and we provide the field expertise.”

This is just one way that Marines with I MIG have been working side-by-side with the innovative minds at NIWC Pacific. During the past several months, I MIG Marines have provided hands-on feedback to help drive future research, development, test and evaluation, and engineering.

“Integration between I MIG and NIWC-PAC is good because we are able to provide them a firsthand look at how the equipment is employed in a real-world environment, which provides feedback to the engineers on how the system performs,” said Meser. “We are the end-users and being able to conduct a field-user evaluation further ensures the security and functionality of the equipment’s capability.”

Capt. Josh Gonzales, a space operations officer with PMW 146, said the participants operated the MUOS radios at various operational data rates in three data transmission types that included burst, flow, and stream. All three data types worked successfully and they were all clear and precise.

The results confirm the MUOS Wideband Code Division Multiple Access performed significantly better than legacy UHF in a contested environment. This is the second of three planned tests, the third test is planned for 2021, and will incorporate additional assets and more terminals to better simulate an operational environment.

Story by LCpl Isaac Velasco, I MEF Information Group

Space Force Unveils New Insignia

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Last week, Chief Master Sergeant Roger A. Towberman, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force showed off new collar insignia created for USSF members to wear on their service dress.

In a video address Towberman said, “This is how we’re going to space up the Air Force uniform while we’re wearing it.” However, he clarified that, “It doesn’t mean we’ll carry this onto a Space Force uniform when it’s designed.”

He also displayed his the new Space Staff Badge for those who have served on the Space Staff.

Here are some other examples of Space Force insignia. It includes the Space Force SEA rank insignia. The Space Delta plays a significant role in every example of their new insignia.

Disruptive Technology Levels the Battleground for US Space Force

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Catalyst Accelerator’s (Catalyst), Cyber for Space Applications, launched eight small businesses into the reaches of the U.S. Space Force, with its sixth accelerator Demo Day on November 19, 2020. Powered by Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate and sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, the cohort of small businesses concluded its 12-week accelerator, gaining traction into moving technology from commercial application to the military warfighter.

Cyber applications have long been the mainstay in the Department of Defense, but with the creation of the U.S. Space Force, a rigorous hunt for disruptive cyber technology has begun. No longer is the warfighter confined to air, land, sea and cyber. Space is now a contested domain, with near-peer adversaries with comparable capabilities, unsettling operations in both the public and private sectors. U.S. data exfiltration by malicious actors is staggering. In 2019 it was estimated that 6.5 million documents per day were stolen by U.S. adversaries, according to keynote speaker Brigadier General D. Jason Cothern, Vice Commander of Space and Missile Systems Center.

The U.S. Space Force is tasked with protecting America’s interests in space, deterring aggressive acts and sustaining operations in this far-off region. With this in mind, Catalyst’s Cyber for Space Accelerator invited small businesses to apply to become a cohort company and demonstrate how their technology might “secure the next generation of space operations and increase resiliency.” “We had a team of 19 people that helped us choose the best companies for this cohort and judging from the response of subject matter experts from Industry and the Department of Defense over the course of the Accelerator, our selection was excellent. I look forward to these companies gaining the traction they need to get their technologies into the hands of the United States warfighters, making the cyber-physical systems they rely on more relevant and secure in the 21st Century fighting domain!” says KiMar Gartman, Program Director of Catalyst Accelerator.

With the support of LinQuest, the platform sponsor, the twelve-week all-virtual accelerator helped cohort companies mature their messaging, understand the government space and pivot their technology to meet the needs of the warfighter. The cohort received guidance from industry and government Sherpas and subject matter experts like Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center; spoke to operational warfighters to determine their needs; were instructed on the acquisition process; and began building relationships with key personnel interested in their technology. Gentry Lane, CEO and Founder of ANOVA Intelligence explained her experience with Catalyst’s accelerator, “I’ve been through other accelerators but Catalyst was different.

They absolutely delivered on their promise to connect us [cohort companies] with people in the U.S. Space Force that make decisions about purchasing and using our technology.”

Demo Day, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, was the Accelerator’s culminating event in which government and industry scouts learned about the cohort’s dual-use technologies that will disrupt space cyber and place the U.S. in an even better position to dominate space. Cohort companies rose to the challenge and presented technologies that will improve warfighter capability today and well into the future. The cohort company pitches can be viewed at catalystaccelerator.space/cacsa

US Space Force OCP Guidance

Saturday, September 19th, 2020

The US Space is only a year old so it hasn’t gotten around to issuing much in the form of regulations or guidance yet, but it has issued guidance on how to wear the Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, aka the ACU.

Space Force Guidance Memorandum 2020-36-01 published late last month spells it out. Although there aren’t many enlisted in the fledgling service yet, they’ve already started deploying space support teams to ongoing operations, taking over the role long filled by USAF Space Professionals.

As far as insignia goes, the minimum configuration consists of a full-color US flag patch, grade insignia, occupational badge, and name and service tapes with space blue embroidery on three-color OCP background. Insignia can be sewn on or Velcro, but it all must be the same.

USSF occupational badges are mandatory, but sister revive badges are optional. However, only two can be worn at a time.

The full-color US flag will be worn on the left sleeve, “centered at the top of the velcro, and worn unless deployed to a contingency operation that aligns under separate/independent OCP wear guidance.”

A higher headquarters patch is required to be worn centered below the flag patch on the left. Spice brown subdued patches are authorized until space blue patches are available. The assigned unit patch is required to be worn centered on the velcro patch of the right sleeve.

Space Professionals will wear velcro or sewn-on space blue name tapes on the back of their patrol caps, and officers will also wear rank insignia on the front.

No word on the configuration of enlisted ranks yet, as the service is waiting to see whether they’ll be forced to use naval ranks. But my money is on USAF-style stripes with the star replaced with the Space Force Delta like CMSgt Roger A Towberman is wearing in his official photo as Senior Enlisted Advisor of the United States Space Force.

Regardless, there’s a grace period until April 1, 2021, for members to update their uniforms to the Space Force-specific configuration. Former Airmen may also continue to wear ABUs until 1 April.

US Air Force To Recruit Future Space Force Professionals

Tuesday, September 15th, 2020

SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

Air Force recruiters nationwide will launch future enlisted space professionals to Basic Military Training to fill Fiscal 2021 job opportunities.

The Department of Defense’s newest military branch is relying on Air Force Recruiting Service to find America’s best and brightest to fill more than 300 enlisted positions next fiscal year. Competition for the limited number of opportunities is said to be tough.

During a virtual AFRS training session Sept. 10, 2020, with recruiters nationwide, U.S. Space Force career field managers from Peterson AFB, Colorado, explained the caliber of applicant they are looking for to join them in their fight to assure access to space for America.

“We’ve gotten away from a checklist driven mindset to where we are lean and agile and our young Airman have to think on-the-fly sometimes to outmaneuver some of the adversaries,” said Senior Master Sgt. Randy Magdaleno, U.S. Space Force manager of Special Programs Division. “As an example, we have young Airman sitting in the 2nd Operations Squadron flying the GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites and what a lot of people don’t know is our Air Force and, now our U.S. Space Force, do the satellite command and control and operate our GPS systems out there for the world.”

This is the reason why career field managers say they need top-notch space professionals to stay ahead of adversaries and secure access to and through space for America in a hostile space environment.

Airmen who were selected to transfer to U.S. Space Force have joined the new service. In October, highly-qualified applicants without prior military experience will begin to make their way to BMT after being processed by an Air Force recruiter. That is their first step to service in the space mission.

They will apply at an Air Force office but will specify which branch of service they would like to be considered for. It is possible they can choose both. The same screening for eligibility to serve will apply. Space specialties will continue to require the same Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery scores and security clearances which are higher than most Air Force career fields.

“Most of our jobs focus on orbital warfare, space electronic warfare, or space battle management,” said Senior MSgt. Daniel Hill, U.S. Space Force manager for the 1C6 Space Systems Operators Air Force Specialty Code. “We fly satellites, keeping them in position or repositioning them if a threat is detected. We use radar to detect missile launches and track space debris to protect our assets in space.”

Descriptions for space specialties can be found on www.spaceforce.mil by clicking on the Careers tab. Job locations are expected to be where a majority of these space professionals are currently located which include installations in California, Colorado and Florida but they can be found in smaller units worldwide.

In February 2021, the U.S. Space Force expects to fill other career opportunities that are key to the military space mission such as cyber security and intelligence. Airmen currently holding those positions for the Air Force were given the opportunity in May 2020 to volunteer to transfer into the U.S. Space Force.  Those selected to transfer will begin the nearly two-year process in February..

All space systems operator positions are scheduled to align in U.S. Space Force ranks and will no longer be called Airmen, but rather a yet to be determined nomenclature within the next two years.

Due to the unique capabilities space professionals perform for the nation, recruiters were encouraged by AFRS trainers to set up mentorship-like opportunities between applicants and active duty personnel or tour nearby space units where available when social distance and COVID health restrictions allow for such an opportunity.

 “We are excited to partner with the U.S. Space Force as it endeavors to build a diverse and inclusive corps of Space Professionals,” said Lt. Col. Michael Graff who leads U.S. Space Force recruiting efforts from his office at AFRS headquarters in San Antonio. “Air Force recruiters are rapidly stepping up to attract and find the agile, innovative, and bold young women and men who will defend a boundless domain and shape space power for decades to come.”

By Chrissy Cuttita, Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs

The US Space Force Unveils Logo and Motto

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

The U.S Space Force released its logo and motto, Semper Supra (Always Above), July 22, 2020 at the Pentagon, D.C. The logo and motto honor the heritage and history of the U.S. Space Force.

(U.S. Space Force graphic by Staff Sgt. James Richardson)