Military Embedded Systems

Hypersonic missile defense goal of recent MDA CubeSat deployment

News

July 13, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Hypersonic missile defense goal of recent MDA CubeSat deployment
Department of Defense photo.

WASHINGTON. The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) deployed two tiny satellites to space June 30 that officials claim has begun communicating with ground stations. This is intended to be the first step on the way to an experiment that will eventually see them communicate with each other.

Officials claim that the CubeSat Networked Communications Experiment (CNCE) Block 1, part of MDA’s Nanosat Testbed Initiative (NTI), uses small, low-cost satellites to demonstrate networked radio communications between nanosatellites while in orbit, which is a capability paramount to a successful missile defense architecture.

CNCE Block 1 will aim to demonstrate technologies including formation flying for small satellites; Software-Defined Radios; ad hoc networks; communication performance in non-optimal orientations; and common, open-source, ground command and control software.

According to the MDA, a goal of the organization is to develop a hypersonic and ballistic tracking space sensor payload. Officials explain that when the payload is deployed on satellites in low earth orbit, it will be designed to detect and track hypersonic and ballistic missile threats and provide critical data surrounding the threat.

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