SDA’s Emerging Capabilities Cell will incubate new mission concepts. This Cell’s initial focus will be to deter hostile action in deep space (beyond Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) up to lunar distances) via a Deterrence Layer of the National Defense Space Architecture.

The focus of SDA’s Emerging Capabilities Cell is to provide a foundation for new mission concepts that will provide warfighter benefits. The initial focus is to define and acquire a Deterrence Layer, whose objective is to deter an adversary’s hostile action in the increasingly active region extending beyond the geosynchronous belt to lunar ranges. Deterrence will be achieved by providing timely detection and attribution of threatening deep space action (beyond the GEO region), and, should deterrence fail, offer techniques for mitigating those threats.

Currently space domain awareness assets are primarily focused on lower orbital regimes and provided limited in-situ characterization; moreover, there is a growing interest in regimes beyond GEO, extending to the lunar regime.

In addition to the Deterrence Layer, the Emerging Capabilities Cell will provide an environment to assess and develop new concepts, missions, and technologies not addressed by other existing SDA mission layers.

SDA’s Emerging Capabilities Cell is exploring technical areas including, but not limited to:

  • Distributed space-based sensing approaches to detect and track objects beyond GEO,
  • Low-cost sensor technologies and algorithms capable of detecting dim targets in densely-cluttered star backgrounds and scenes,
  • Approaches for integrating space-based space domain awareness into user operational environments to provide timely indications and warning to the warfighter, and
  • Concepts for an advanced maneuvering vehicle with sufficient kinematic capability to quickly reach areas of interest in the deep space regime, to provide in-situ attribution.