Kratos' OpenSpace is a platform designed to make ground stations more adaptable, resilient and secure. Credit: Kratos.

SAN FRANCISCO — Kratos Defense & Security Solutions announced the release Oct. 20 of OpenSpace, a software platform and family of virtual products designed to help satellite ground systems adapt rapidly to changing conditions.

“We believe OpenSpace is the first dynamic software-based ground systems that will help move the satellite ground system world into the 5G-type of infrastructure,” Phil Carrai, Kratos Space, Training and Cyber division president, told SpaceNews.

Increasingly, commercial and government satellites feature flexible, software-defined payloads. Satellite ground systems, however, often remained inflexible. It can take weeks to install custom hardware and software in a ground station to communicate with a new satellite or constellation.

“On the ground side, we need to undergo the same sort of renaissance that we’ve seen in the space side to allow for new resilient, reliable ground systems,” Carrai said.

Through OpenSpace, Kratos digitizes the radio frequency spectrum at the antennas and packages RF data for transfer over internet-protocol networks.

“It starts to make the ground system look a lot like an Ethernet network, which is the first key step in the innovation,” said Greg Quiggle, Kratos vice president of product management.

The goal of OpenSpace is to help satellite and ground station operators “enhance the adaptability, resiliency, security and reliability of their ground systems,” according to Kratos’ Oct. 20 news release. “Ground functions that once took weeks to implement manually are now orchestrated as service chains with OpenSpace, making systems dramatically more responsive to real-time changes in network resources, user demand and threats.”

Kratos also released two OpenSpace virtual network functions Oct. 20 for Earth observation and remote sensing missions. Kratos released its first OpenSpace virtual network function, a wideband receiver, in August.

Kratos is working with Microsoft on Azure Orbital, a platform designed to help customers move data from satellites directly into the Azure cloud for processing and storage.

“An [Software-Defined Network]-based architecture like OpenSpace’s is critical to our ability to provide our customers with a platform that is complete, economical and easy to use,” Yves Pitsch, Microsoft principal product manager for Azure Networking, said in a statement. “Virtualized operations provide us with the flexibility and scalability we need to optimally support many different customers, missions, satellites and other specialized needs without specialized hardware.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...