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 Boeing’s technical maturity on the rapid-prototyping program.
“We’re making great progress on this pacesetter program,” Lt. Col. Ryan Rose, SSC’s Tactical SATCOM Division deputy chief, said. “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.”
The rapid prototype program, executed in collaboration with Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems, is expected to provide high levels of protection for US and allied satellite communications.
The 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 which the company says 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, according to Boeing. 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,” Troy Dawson, Government Satellite Systems vice president at Boeing, said. “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.”
To date, the Boeing team has completed several capability demonstrations and design reviews, including validating interoperability with government-furnished Protected Anti-Jam Tactical SATCOM (PATS) hardware and software components.