PHOENIX — SSL will help the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center define its next generation of protected military communications, the Maxar Technologies company announced Aug. 16.

Under a contract with the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Enterprise Consortium, SSL will develop, test and analyze antenna subsystem prototypes to demonstrate key technologies for resilient, cost-effective and high-performance protected tactical satellite communications, according to the announcement.

SSL has been working in this area for years. In 2013, the Space and Missile Systems Center awarded the company, then known as Space Systems/Loral, an option to continue working on design concepts for next-generation protected military satellite communications.

“The combination of SSL’s agile mindset and innovative new space technologies with our team’s experience in multiple generations of military satellite communications architectures uniquely positions us to accelerate the Department of Defense’s development and integration of cost-effective and highly advanced solutions that will support the defense of our nation,” Richard White, president of SSL Government Systems, said in a statement. “There are more than 85 SSL-built communications satellites currently in orbit. We are proud to leverage that experience to further expand and support U.S. Air Force capabilities.”

The Space Enterprise Consortium, managed by Advanced Technology International, focuses on rapid prototype projects to address Defense Department requirements for space systems.

SSL has a number of military space projects in the works. The company is working with Radiant Solutions, a Maxar Technologies Company, and Systems Engineering Associates of Torrance, California, on a persistent space layer prototype concept for missile defense. In addition, SSL is exploring resilient space architectures for the Space and Missile Systems Center’s Space Enterprise Vision, a campaign to ensure space systems and networks continue to work during a conflict that extends to space.

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...