Bridging the final frontier: Ensuring connectivity, progress and peace in the space age

As government operations move further into deep space, agencies need the right capabilities for awareness, connectivity and safety.


March 20, 2024

Humans are more connected with space than ever before. Increased excitement, interest and federal investment into cosmic exploration has paved the way for rapid technological advancements. As a result, a proliferation of space networks, satellites and communications infrastructure around the Earth and in Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) has significantly bolstered communication capabilities for those exploring the final frontier.

“We’re already in a state today where we can expect that people in space are going to be connected seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” states David Cunniff, space strategist for Peraton, a leading space technology company. “Basically, space has never been a safer place for humans because you can count on that constant communication to be present for your mission.”

However, as the government works to evolve and expand operations into the vastness of deep space, existing infrastructure tends to taper off. There are a limited number of ground stations beyond the moon that can relay important information to astronauts, such as what time it is onboard their vehicle or flight distance to a particular location.

This lack of context can hinder the effectiveness of time-sensitive operations, like, for example, if a vehicle’s camera must capture an event or phenomenon in a specific place and time. Given the speed with which objects in space travel, even just a half-second discrepancy could result in a missed opportunity to collect science and complete the mission.

“The biggest challenge in space is: How do we extend that space support infrastructure out so that everything going to the moon, Mars and outer planets has the same level of connectivity, and situational awareness — what we call space domain awareness — that we enjoy here closer to Earth?” explains Cunniff.

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