The Space Force will use navigation details from the LEO constellations to identify electronic interference

Slingshot Aerospace has been awarded a $2 million contract by the US Space Force to build an analytics tool that leverages location data from the commercial satellites which are in the low Earth orbit (LEO) to identify possible sources of the electronic interference on the ground.

The military is working on a project to reap the benefits of the telemetry data accessible from the growing number of commercial satellites in low-Earth orbit. Slingshot will “create a prototype that uses proliferated LEO mega-constellations to identify, locate, and alleviate GPS interference and radio frequency (RF) sources, that are direct risks to U.S. on-orbit space assets,” according to the Space Systems Command agency.

The contract is supported by the Space Systems Command’s CASINO initiative, which was intended to figure out how the military could exploit emerging space technology. CASINO stands for privately augmented space inter-networked activities.

The prevalence of electronic devices made to hinder the Global Positioning System (GPS) and other satellite signals has exacerbated a long-standing problem for the military: radio frequency interference. One of the difficulties in pinpointing the exact position and source of the interference.

Slingshot Aerospace was chosen by the Space Force’s Space Enterprise Consortium to develop a data analytics tool which ingests the GPS telemetry data from the commercial LEO constellations and utilizes it to construct a picture of RF dangers on the ground, detecting and characterizing the probable sources of interference, according to Melanie Stricklan, Chief Executive Officer, and co-founder.

“With the proliferation of commercially proliferated low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite constellations, the ability to gather, process, and derive insights from the satellite telemetry data has expanded significantly,” she stated. “Manual data exploitation techniques will be automated to deliver completed user-friendly items at low latencies,” according to the prototype system.

According to Stricklan, the goal is to “exploit data already generated by current GNSS (spacecraft global navigation satellite systems) sensors to obtain a deeper understanding of the electromagnetic operational environment.” The contract was awarded in a competitive process established by the Space Enterprise Consortium in June 2021.

According to Lt. Gen. Nina M. Armagno, who is the director of staff at the Space Force headquarters, the military plans to focus on increasing the acquisition of cutting-edge technologies in 2022. She mentioned that one aspect of this will be broadening the scope of its Space Warfighting Analysis Center.

“With our industry partners, we’re taking a different approach to acquisitions.  The Space Warfighting Analysis Center (SWAC), held its first-ever business fair — a strategic-level incident where they got to share their force design concepts, models, and threat intelligence with industry just this past October,” she said during a webinar held by the Washington Space Business Roundtable on December 15.

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