SDA to Develop Separate Ground System Infrastructure for FOO Fighter ‘Fire Control’ Satellites


Washington: The Space Development Agency (SDA) is planning to develop a separate ground system infrastructure for its experimental “FOO Fighter” fire control satellites — with the first of two planned requests for proposals set for June 18, Director Derek Tournear said.


A pre-RFP announcement will be posted on the website, he told a small group of reporters, designed to explain SDA’s planned solicitation for an integrator to develop and run the backbone ground system for the FOO Fighter — a nested acronym for Fire-Control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter — program, being developed by Boeing’s Millennium Space Systems. FOO Fighter is prototyping satellites capable of high-fidelity tracking adversary missiles and providing pinpoint coordinates to operators of missile defence interceptors.

The first solicitation for what SDA calls the “Advanced Fire Control Ground Integration” will seek contractors to “build out our developmental ops centre — our DOC that’s in Redstone Arsenal down very close to where our SDA South ops centre is located,” Tournear said. This includes providing “the ground entry points for downlinked data, “the cloud hosting for the computing,” as well as the “compute and IT resources” first for FOO Fighter and then for any future fire control demonstrations.


A second solicitation, for “Advanced Fire Control Mission Integration (AFCMI)” will follow “later this summer” for a contractor to serve as the mission integrator charged with the ground-based computer systems for fusing incoming data from FOO Fighter and future demos “so that they can be used in a format that can be passed off to the warfighter,” he said.

SDA originally had planned to solicit a sole contractor to handle ground systems for all of its demonstration satellites under its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) Futures Program (PFP). For example, this would have covered SDA’s T1DES (Tranche 1 Demonstration and Experimentation System) project to augment its Tranche 1 Transport Layer data relay satellites by demonstrating tactical satellite communication and Integrated Broadcast Service capabilities — as well as the planned follow-on called T2DES (pronounced toodes), for Transport Layer Tranche 2.

big bang

The agency issued a draft solicitation for the former PFP Ground Segment Integration effort on April 30, seeking industry input. That industry feedback, Tournear said, resulted in the decision to create a separate ground system integration plan for FOO Fighter and future fire control satellites.

“We heard back from industry. And as we started to piece the pieces together, it became apparent based on industry feedback, that essentially what we were trying to do with that solicitation was going to be extremely complicated, if not confusing, and probably difficult to execute as we had planned,” he said.