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US Space Force’s tactical SATCOM prototype passes critical design review

Photo: Boeing

The US Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) and Boeing recently completed a critical design review for the Protected Tactical SATCOM Prototype (PTS-P), validating the technical maturity of the rapid-prototyping program.

The rapid prototype program, executed in collaboration with Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems, will provide high levels of protection for US and allied satellite communications.

PTS-P will be first space-based hub of the US military’s jam-resistant waveform, Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW)

“We’re making great progress on this pacesetter program,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, SSC’s Tactical SATCOM Division deputy chief. “We’ve asked all industry partners to move fast — to build, iterate, demonstrate, and improve performance, so we can deploy much faster than we typically would. This design review demonstrates we’re on track to deliver new communication capabilities to the warfighter.”

Boeing’s PTS-P features an on-board processor of the US military’s jam-resistant Protected Tactical Waveform (PTW), providing users in-theater anti-jam capability with network routing that exceeds objective requirements.

Scheduled for on-orbit demonstration after a 2024 launch, the prototype payload showcases PTS-P’s improved stand-off distance performance, reduced latency, and other mission-enabling capabilities that enable the warfighter in a modern battlefield. Host vehicle integration and testing will begin next year.

“The Space Force’s incremental demonstration approach is allowing us to bring capabilities rapidly to the warfighter while mitigating risk for future technology developments,” said Troy Dawson, Government Satellite Systems vice president at Boeing. “We’re investing across our satellite portfolio to deliver the most advanced solutions to our customers. Our scalable software-defined payload will be able to accommodate and grow to meet the needs of any mission, and it can be hosted on commercial or government platforms.”