Space Systems Command Awards Contracts to Develop Prototypes of Space Laser Communication Terminal

Space Systems Command Awards Contracts to Develop Prototypes of Space Laser Communication Terminal

The United States Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) awarded four contracts to Blue Origin, CACI International, General Atomics, and Viasat to develop space laser communication terminal prototypes as the first of three phases in the $100 million Enterprise Space Terminal (EST) program. 

The EST program, part of SSC’s Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power Program Executive Office, aims to enable on-orbit crosslink compatibility among future space systems via the use of a standardized enterprise waveform implemented in a long-range space optical communications terminal that is low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C). ESTs are a key building block of the broader Space Data Network, which will build a space mesh network for resiliency and information path diversity.

The EST program leverages prior investment by the Department of Defense and commercial developers to operationalize a new enterprise waveform designed to communicate in the Beyond Low Earth Orbit (bLEO) regimes.

"The EST prototypes will be a huge step forward for a future space mesh network across different orbital regimes ranging from low earth orbit to past the geosynchronous orbit regime,” according to John Kirkemo, senior materiel leader of SSC’s Advanced Communications Acquisition Delta. “These terminals will implement a common waveform so all satellites carrying these terminals can talk to each other. This is important as the network of satellites carrying EST compatible terminals will provide diverse communication paths for data that is critical to our national security and our way of life.”

The four contracts were awarded through SSC's Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), created to bridge the cultural gap between military buyers and commercial space startups and small businesses through Other Transaction Authorities. 

“SpEC was specifically initiated to use competition to maximize innovation and drive down costs as we’re doing with the EST Program,” said Col. Bryon McClain, program executive officer for SSC Space Domain Awareness and Combat Power. “Over the past seven years, SpEC has enabled the DoD to leverage both traditional and non-traditional vendors to provide new capability for our Nation.”

Click here to learn about Laser Communication Terminals listed on SatNow.

Publisher: SatNow

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013