SDA Issues Tranche 1 Ground Operations and Integration Request for Proposal

Two Response Dates: Vol I-VI due Feb. 24 & Vol VII due March 3, 2022

SDA issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to establish the ground operations and integration segment for Tranche 1 (T1), the initial warfighting capability tranche, of the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA). Unique to this operations solicitation, the core functions include: enterprise management, network management, mission management, payload data management, and constellation monitoring that span all segments (ground, link, space, and user) in the architecture.

The scope of work of the Tranche 1 Operations & Integration (O&I) contract requires the O&I Contractor to develop, equip, man and operate state-of-the-art, commercial-like operation centers, acquire and operate SDA ground entry points (GEP), and lead ground-to-space integration efforts. SDA’s T1 Transport Layer operations are enabled by the T1 ground segment that includes two operations centers located at SDA-provided facilities in Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB), Grand Forks, N.D. (Northern Tier) and Redstone Arsenal (RSA), Huntsville, Ala. (Southern Tier); multiple GEPs; external locations, and terrestrial backhaul communications; a fully integrated T1 satellite network; battle management command control and communications (BMC3) functionality; and, the T1 interoperability test environment. The ability of this contractor to work with and manage inputs and actions from multiple other performers will be critical to successfully field and operate T1 of the NDSA.

National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA) Systems, Technologies, and Emerging Capabilities (STEC)

Original Date Offers Due: Jan 12, 2023

Through this updated STEC Broad Agency Announcement (BAA), SDA is soliciting executive summaries, white papers/abstracts, and full proposals for novel architecture concepts, systems, technologies, and capabilities that enable improvements for future tranches of currently planned National Defense Space Architecture capability layers. SDA is also interested in ideas to enable new capability layers that address other emerging or evolving warfighter needs in the future.

SDA is seeking architecture studies, concepts of operations (CONOPS), modeling and simulation, system designs, key technologies, and/or risk reduction prototypes that are responsive to the following topic areas: ¬¬

• Real-Time Global Awareness and Connectivity

• Comprehensive Space-Based Sensing

• Omniscient Command, Control, and Execution

Please see the BAA for details and submission instructions.


SDA Posts Request for Information Seeking Industry Feedback on Battle Management, Command, Control, and Communications

Original Response Date: January 14, 2022

The Space Development Agency (SDA) seeks industry input on approaches to establishing an Application Factory to support space- and ground-based Battle Management, Command, Control, and Communications (BMC3) software capabilities for the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA) to inform future solicitations. The Tranche 1 (T1) Transport Layer (T1TL) is the foundational layer launching in fiscal year 2024. This layer will consist of between 126-144 satellites, onboard which will ride a BMC3 module. These modules comprise SDA’s BMC3 Layer to provide advanced capabilities at the edge. The goal is to make data available to the warfighter "at or ahead of the speed of the threat." This Request for Information (RFI) seeks to inform the establishment of an Application Factory that will provide continuous updates to the BMC3 Layer.


SDA posts DRAFT Solicitation Seeking Feedback on Potential Tranche 1 Tracking Layer

Original Response Date: January 07, 2022

SDA has released a DRAFT solicitation for a potential Tracking Layer for Tranche 1 of the National Defense Space Architecture. The draft solicitation provides an opportunity for industry to review and offer feedback in advance of final posting. SDA is considering an “other transactions” (OT) prototyping effort to accelerate the NDSA capability to provide global, persistent indications, warning, tracking, and identification of both traditional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems.

SDA plans to buy up to 28 Tracking Tranche 1 space vehicles that will fly in four highly-inclined planes, from up to two vendors. Broadly, SDA will leverage high-technology readiness level (TRL) capabilities and commoditized components where possible, starting from Tranche 0’s Tracking requirements baseline and including some targeted technology enhancements over those capabilities on the path to a fully operational pLEO Missile Warning and Tracking Layer.

The fiscal year 2022 priority mission partner is U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and the long-term vision is to field a system that provides a resilient global capability to all Combatant Commands as rapidly and affordably as possible. The procurement is, of course, subject to funding from Congress, which is not yet fully determined for fiscal year 2022 and beyond. Industry feedback is requested by January 7, 2022 and SDA hopes to post the final solicitation in the near future.


SDA Provides Industry Presentation on Tranche 1 Ground Operations and Integration

Requests Due By: December 07, 2021

SDA will deliver a CUI-level virtual industry presentation on Friday, December 10, 2021. This presentation will focus on the anticipated solicitation for the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA) Tranche 1 Operations & Integration. SDA will also offer one-on-one meetings by request with companies intending to propose as prime contractors (up to 18 meetings will be accommodated). Below are the key dates you need to know:

• Dec 7- SDA must receive all requests for industry presentation content and for one-on-one prime meetings

• Dec 8- Notifications/schedule for one-on-one meetings will be provided

• Dec 10- Industry presentation posted to AWS GovCloud, available for download at Noon EDT

• Dec 14 & 15- Prime one-on-one meetings with SDA

More information and instructions to request the industry presentation and one-on-one prime meetings are available at the link.

SDA issues Solicitation under Other Transaction Authorities in Support of Tranche 1 Transport Layer

Original Response Date: November 24, 2021 at Noon EDT

The Space Development Agency (SDA) seeks responses to help build the Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL). T1TL is a mesh network of over one hundred optically interconnected satellites that provide a resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport communication system. T1TL will provide global communications access and deliver persistent regional encrypted connectivity in support of Warfighter missions around the globe by serving as the backbone for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) built on low-latency data transport and sensor-to-shooter connectivity. T1TL will consist of six near-polar orbital planes of SVs in a 1000 km altitude proliferated low Earth orbit constellation, linked together to form a global space mesh network. SDA expects to make multiple awards from this solicitation. Proposals are due by November 24, 2021 at Noon EDT.

SDA Posts DRAFT RFP Seeking Industry Feedback on Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System (T1DES)

Original Response Date: November 8, 2021

The Space Development Agency (SDA) seeks input on a DRAFT Request for Proposal (RFP) to augment the Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) constellation with demonstration and experimental capability. The Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System (T1DES) leverages the low latency data transfer and beyond line of sight command and control infrastructure established by the T1TL program to field and connect additional space vehicles with different mission payload configurations. T1DES space vehicles (SVs) will be interoperable with T1TL SVs, to include compatible optical communications terminals (OCTs), networking and data routing, and ground system operations.

SDA Participates in DoD’s SBIR/STTR Program

SDA participates in the DoD Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. Starting in October 2021, SDA began leveraging the DoD SBIR 22.4 Annual Program Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) and the DoD STTR 22.D Annual Program BAA. These programs are competitive opportunities to encourage domestic small businesses to engage in research and development with the DoD. SDA will use the SBIR/STTR program to enhance future tranches and to inform the overall architecture of spiral development projects to demonstrate warfighter capability via proliferated low Earth orbit. Through a competitive awards-based program, SDA’s SBIR/STTR efforts will enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provides the incentive to profit from its commercialization. SDA will post updated small business opportunities under the DoD Annual SBIR and STTR BAAs throughout the year as we identify specific technical topics for industry consideration and will consider partnering with other organizations such as DARPA or Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), based on their research interests and the quality of small business proposals. The annual BAAs close Dec. 31, 2022.

SDA Resources

The Space Development Agency (SDA) has issued a notification to industry on a Department of Defense Optical Communication Terminal (OCT) standard (draft). This is a first of its kind optical standard document designed to ensure interoperability, create a marketplace, and provide advanced communication capabilities to terrestrial, maritime and airborne warfighting elements. More importantly, this standard provides interface specifications that enable space vehicles and payloads developed and operated by multiple organizations to readily exchange data via optical intersatellite links and to integrate with the National Defense Space Architecture allowing more partners to leverage the Transport layer.

Laser optical links provide a large number of advantages over radio-frequency (RF) communications. Inherent to their design is the capacity to transport very large volumes of low latency data. Additionally, optical links provide anti-cyber capabilities that significantly reduces the vulnerability associated with RF communications. Many warfighting elements would also prefer communication capabilities defined by low probability of intercept (LPI) and low probability of detection (LPD). Laser optical links are by their very nature LPI/LPD and very difficult to jam.