WASHINGTON — True Anomaly, a startup developing technologies for the military space market, announced plans to provide digital and live training ranges as a service.

Based in Centennial, Colorado, the company developed a digital infrastructure for virtual training as well as on-orbit hardware for live wargaming.

The digital range and the on-orbit range will be offered to the U.S. Space Force for personnel training and for hardware testing, said True Anomaly CEO Even Rogers.

Like the other military branches, the Space Force needs a “dedicated test and training range to prepare for real-world scenarios,” he said. 

The Space Force plans to spend up to $340 million on testing and training infrastructure. The organization overseeing these efforts, the Space Training and Readiness Command (STARCOM), is briefing companies this week on a project called National Space Test and Training Complex, or NSTTC.

STARCOM said the complex will include testbeds or virtualized environments that mimic the operation of satellites in orbit. In these environments, military personnel can learn how to control, maneuver and maintain satellites, and practice skills such as orbit determination, attitude control, payload operation and troubleshooting. The digital environments also would support the testing and evaluation of new satellite designs. 

Rogers said True Anomaly developed a “seamless environment in which to combine live space vehicles, ground system operations and digital models for efficient, safe, and repeatable test and training.”

Credit: True Anomaly

First two satellites to launch in 2024

The on-orbit range will use the company’s Jackal small satellites. The first two are scheduled to launch to low Earth orbit in February on the SpaceX Transporter-10 rideshare.  

In the digital range, operators will be able to use virtual Jackal vehicles simulating adversary “red” and friendly “blue” assets, 

“This infrastructure on the ground will allow operators to sit down on consoles and interact with spacecraft models, fly out war games and training scenarios and test events and do tactics development without flying any physical satellites or interacting with the physical telescopes or radars,” Rogers said. 

“It’s a purely digital environment. But that digital environment also can connect to a live range” so Space Force units can interact with the Army, Navy and Air Force, said Rogers. 

The digital and live ranges will be offered as a service, he said, so the government only pays for the time it uses the assets.

“We think the most capital efficient and speediest thing that the government can do is to procure this as a service model,” said Rogers. “We provide the infrastructure in the range, operators come to the range and they basically pay for the time they use the range.”

The digital range was designed in a secure cloud environment and has multiple levels of security for different levels of users, he said. The infrastructure also allows for systems built by other companies to plug in. 

“The thing that the Department of Defense says loud and clear is that they want to avoid vendor lock,” Rogers said. “Which means that industry has to build open architectures with the expectation of being interoperable with potential competitors.”

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...