WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded BAE Systems the second phase of an existing $12.8 million contract to develop digital tools to test and evaluate technologies for space command and control. The second phase focuses on the use of machine learning for space and situational awareness, the company announced Aug. 13.

BAE Systems originally won the contract for the Hallmark Tools, Capabilities, and Evaluation Methodology (Hallmark-TCEM) program in November 2017. The program is to help operators improve their understanding of space events and their ability to take actions in response to situations that might affect U.S. satellites in space.

The work is being performed by BAE Systems’ Fast Labs research and development division. BAE Systems said in a news release the company will build “cognitive-based machine learning algorithms and data models aimed to give space operators the ability to identify abnormal activities and predict possible threats.”

BAE Systems will develop “data models based on normal activity and then ingests large amounts of real-time, streaming data to compare against the normal model and determine if any abnormal activity is occurring or will occur,” said John Hogan, product line director of the sensor processing and exploitation group at BAE Systems. “By using this technology, we hope to reduce the operator’s workload by providing a solution that will automatically predict space events such as launches or satellite movements based on millions of pieces of data, helping them make rapid decisions to avoid any potential threats.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...