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DARPA Selects mZeal and Integral Systems to Develop Architecture for F6 Broad Agency Announcement

Jul 25, 2011


Integral Systems, Inc., /quotes/zigman/61855/quotes/nls/isys has received a $468,000 contract from mZeal Communications, Inc., to provide space systems expertise and define the Multi-level Secure (MLS) network architecture supporting mZeal's Mission-Aware Network Architecture for Small-Satellite Adaptive Systems (MANASSAS) project. MANASSAS was competitively selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) within Technical Area 3, Information Architecture, of the F6 Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). Integral Systems' Military and Intelligence Group (MIG) will perform the work and provide space systems expertise, supporting mZeal by developing standards for advanced concepts in satellite operations and design.


The System F6 program's goal is to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of disaggregated -- or fractionated -- network architectures in space, wherein functionality traditionally contained within a single, large, monolithic satellite can be delivered by a cluster of wirelessly-interconnected modules capable of sharing and using resources found elsewhere in the network. Such an architecture enhances the adaptability and survivability of space systems, while also shortening development timelines and reducing the barrier-to-entry for participation in the national security space industry. The program is predicated on developing open interface standards -- from the physical wireless link layer, through the network protocol stack. This will include the real-time resource sharing middleware and cluster flight logic that can enable the emergence of a space "global commons" that will enhance the mutual security posture of all participants through interdependence. A key program goal is the industry-wide promulgation of these open interface standards for sustaining and developing future fractionated systems.


The Cognitive Networking approach in MANASSAS addresses the current requirements of F6, such as MLS and real-time communication. An F6 network will operate unattended once placed in orbit and the ability to modify its behavior in flight can significantly enhance its effectiveness and flexibility.