Virginia Bluehalo is making progress in testing a new antenna system that aims to modernize the outdated satellite control network (SCN) of the US space forces. The phased antennas, known as Badger, are expected to be a crucial update for SCN.
The first test of Badger took place in late August and marked the initial evaluation of guided phased antenna modules and software. Colonel Greg Hoffman from the Office of the Rapid Acquisition of Strategic Capabilities of SPRCO confirmed this.
Kelly Hammett, the head of the independent space office of quick opportunities (SPRCO), which manages the project, stated that the first unit of Badger will be delivered in the spring of 2025. He also mentioned the possibility of accelerating the deployment of the new antennas due to the urgent need for SCN modernization.
SCN mainly supports satellite launches, early operations, satellite monitoring and control, and emergency support for military, NASA, and Noaa (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) satellites. The network consists of 19 antennas and ground systems located in seven different locations worldwide.
Unlike the current SCN antennas, which can only connect to one satellite at a time, phased antennas like Badger have the ability to simultaneously communicate with multiple satellites. Badger utilizes multi-band software-defined antennas (MSDA) technology, enabling communication with more than 10 satellites simultaneously.
The SCAR program initially aimed to deploy 12 units of Badger; however, due to budget constraints, these plans may change. It is worth noting that in April, the Directorate for Control over State Expenses emphasized the need to update SCN’s antennas.
Virginia Bluehalo intends to proceed with full-scale Badger assembly next year, making this project highly promising for enhancing the US space infrastructure.