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NASA Selects Studies for Future Space Communications and Services
by Jimi Russell for GRC News
Cleveland OH (SPX) May 21, 2019


NASA has selected eight U.S. companies to conduct five-month studies and explore conceptual space communication system designs for future NASA near-Earth missions.

The agency's Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program is studying Space Relay Partnership and Services to establish public-private partnerships with U.S. commercial companies in an effort to evolve NASA's existing communications network into an interoperable, extensible space communications and navigation network. Combined funding awarded for the selected studies is approximately $4 million.

The selected companies are:

+ ATLAS Space Operations, Inc.: Traverse City, Michigan
+ Boeing: El Segundo, California
+ Eutelsat America Corporation: Washington D.C.
+ General Dynamics Mission Systems: Scottsdale, Arizona
+ Intelsat General Communications: McLean, Virginia
+ Maxar Space Solutions: Westminster, Colorado
+ Northrop Grumman: Dulles, Virginia
+ Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX): Hawthorne, California

The goal is to collaborate with U.S. industry to accelerate new space-based communications capabilities and services. These partnerships will be critical to supporting not only future

space exploration missions, but the U.S. economy by creating new opportunities and markets for commercial providers, while reducing overall cost to NASA by becoming one of many customers.

In September 2018, NASA sought study proposals under Appendix G of the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP-2) Broad Agency Announcement. The studies, which are managed by NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, identified 10 topic areas, including: partnership approach, commercial radio frequency and optical space communication services, service provider interoperability, concept of operations, transition plan and validation, internetworking, secured data processing, payload requirements and user terminal interoperability.

These studies will provide information on current or planned commercial space communication and navigation architectures, including relay satellites, ground systems, and services for NASA beginning in the mid-2020s, which could support NASA's exploration on and around the Moon.

NASA's SCaN Program is a division of the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. It is responsible for overseeing the development and operations of the SCaN networks, as well as advanced communication technologies development and demonstration.

Related Links
Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program
Space Tourism, Space Transport and Space Exploration News

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House committee limits Space Development Agency funding, asks for detailed plans
Washington DC (UPI) May 16, 2019
Funding for the proposed Space Development Agency could be limited until the Defense Department submits to Congress a detailed plan for the new agency. In a draft of the Defense Department funding bill for fiscal year 2020, released on Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee appropriators would block funding for the SDA until 90 days after the secretary of defense submits a detailed plan for the new agency. The SDA is due to exist under the Department of Defense, but by 2022 will fall un ... read more

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