Space Rapid Capabilities Office slates $1B for dynamic space ops C2

WASHINGTON — The Space Rapid Capabilities Office (SpRCO) has tapped 20 firms to compete for up to $1 billion in task orders for command and control software to manage future highly maneuverable satellites.

The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract for SpRCO’s Rapid Resilient Command and Control, nicknamed R2C2, project “will develop, integrate, and demonstrate capabilities for an end-to-end satellite operations (SatOps) ground system with the capability to fly Dynamic Space Operations (DSO) missions, leveraging a commercial cloud architecture,” an SpRCO spokesperson told Breaking Defense in an email.

Using a small business set aside fund, the ID/IQ has a five-year ordering period with two additional one-year options, and SpRCO intends to start competing individual task orders over the next couple of months.

“R2C2 will acquire software systems in bite-size pieces — delivering timely SatOps capabilities to on-orbit mission partners and providing operators automation and a common user experience across satellite missions. This IDIQ builds upon and scales a current prototype satellite operations system which is going through an integration, demonstration, and test campaign,” the spokesperson explained.

Companies selected are: Aalyria Technologies Inc.; AI Solutions Inc.; Defense Unicorns Inc.; FTI — Frontier Technology Inc.; Giuseppe Engineering LLC; Infinity Systems Engineering; IS4S — Integrated Solutions for Systems Inc.; NewSat North America LLC; Northstrat Incorporated; Omitron Inc.; Omni Fed LLC (Omni Federal); PCA — Pacific Crest Alliance; Picogrid, Inc.; Quantum Research International; Raft LLC; Rogue Space Systems Corp; Sphinx Defense Inc.; STR — Systems &; Technology Research LLC; TapHere! Technology LLC; and True Anomaly, Inc.

The R2C2 project is being managed by SpRCO’s Combined Program Office (CPO), which was stood up to combine “legacy elements” from SpRCO and the Space Force’s primary acquisition unit Space Systems Command (SSC) headquartered in Los Angeles, the SpRCO spokesperson said. CPO was created last February at the direction of Air Force space acquisition czar Frank Calvelli specifically to provide critical ground software for new Space Force satellites that can both move quickly in orbit and sustain freedom to maneuver over longer periods of time.

Space Force already operates one set of satellites specifically designed to maneuver, the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) constellation. GSSAP is aimed at keeping tabs on adversary satellites in the geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) belt some 36,000 kilometers in altitude. However, GSSAP is limited by its fuel-carrying capacity — something that US Space Command leaders are seeking to overcome with the dynamic space operations concept.

SpRCO, headquartered at Kirtland AFB in New Mexico, is a semi-independent acquisition organization created by Congress in 2018 to take requirements directly from operators at US Space Command and find ways to quickly get capabilities, including cutting-edge commercial tech, into the field. Much of the office’s work is classified, but SpRCO Director Kelly Hammett in recent years has been endeavoring to shed more light on its activities.

For example, on May 24 the Space Force announced that SpRCO had awarded $1.4 billion to Blue Halo for one of its other public flagships, the Satellite Communications Augmentation Resource (SCAR) program. SCAR is designed to field new phased array antennas for the antiquated Satellite Control Network (SCN) by the early 2030s.

“SCAR will increase communications capacity ten-fold for satellites in geosynchronous orbit through transportable, electronically steerable phased array antennas, and will do so in a scalable way as the demands on the SCN rapidly grow in the coming years,” the announcement said.

Further, it added that SpRCO partnered on the program with the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, Space Operations Command and SSC.