Air Force Seeks Input on Modular Satellite Buses to Support GPS, Other Missions - Inside GNSS - Global Navigation Satellite Systems Engineering, Policy, and Design

Air Force Seeks Input on Modular Satellite Buses to Support GPS, Other Missions

As part of its effort to stay ahead of expanding threats, the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) is looking for input from firms interested in supplying modular satellite buses to support a variety of missions including GPS, the Nuclear Detonation (NUDET) Detection System (NDS) and communications.

“Space has become a contested environment and a warfighting domain,” SMC wrote. “Near-peer adversaries are now challenging U.S. space superiority. National security space enterprise needs to regain the space advantage and outpace the threat.”

The recently published request for information will inform SMC’s evolvingplans for developing such a bus and creating a consortium to develop standardized interface specifications. Those standards would include interfaces between the bus and mission payload as well as other elements like communications and auxiliary payloads.

One of the goals is to enable fielding technology updates at more aggressive pace. The information will help SMC determine the appropriate insertion points for such buses for different mission areas including GPS. Among the questions are the risk tradeoffs and the weight and power penalties for using a standardized bus and interfaces.

SMC is also trying to determine what efficiencies can be gained from consolidating the purchase of such modular buses including whether consolidated buying could help offset the higher costs associated with faster upgrades.

“SMC believes that procuring modular Enterprise buses using a consolidated acquisition strategy supports the goals of providing frequent technology insertion opportunities and increased fielding rates, at the bus and payload level, sufficient to outpace future and evolving threats, while offering necessary cost efficiencies,” SMC wrote in a statement.

Responses are due April 3. For more information search keyword SMCModularEnterpriseBus at