Satnews Daily
September 14th, 2019

USAF Ground Station Needs Research Contract Received by RBC Signals

RBC Signals is the recipient of their second U.S. Air Force (USAF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I award — granted under the topic “Open Call for Innovative Defense-Related Dual-Purpose Technologies/Solutions with a Clear Air Force Stakeholder Need,” the RBC Signals award is managed out of the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) and they will allocate funding to research needs for multi-mission ground stations as a service and highlights the dual commercial and government use capabilities of that ground infrastructure. 

RBC Signals provides space communication services to LEO, MEO and GEO satellite operators. The company’s network is designed to increase resiliency, lower latency and increase date download capacity — to the benefit of the USAF and other government customers, in addition to commercial operators. The company’s robust global network now exceeds 70 antennas and 50 locations and supports all major frequency bands.

According to the USAF, “The AFRL and AFWERX (a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement across industry, academia and non-traditional contributors to create transformative opportunities and foster an Air Force culture of innovation), have partnered to streamline the Small Business Innovation Research process in an attempt to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants and decrease bureaucratic overhead. Beginning in SBIR 18.2, and now in 19.2, the Air Force has begun offering 'Special' SBIR topics that are faster, leaner and open to a broader range of innovations.”

The SBIR Phase I award is the second attained by RBC Signals. In June of 2019, the company announced its first which was awarded under the topic “Commercial Solutions for Innovative Space Data Analytics”. That award provided funding for multi-mission intelligent edge computing infrastructure in ground stations within the RBC Signals global network.

RBC Signals also recently announced a collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Ground Station. The relationship combines the expansive reach of the worldwide RBC Signals communication network with high-throughput AWS Ground Station antennas to make it easier for RBC customers to downlink their satellite data, and to provide low latency, local access to other AWS services for data processing, storing and analysis.

Ron Faith, President and COO of RBC Signals, said that as more and more test and demonstration satellites are being launched, there is a greater need for commercial ground station networks to complement and back up existing ground assets to relieve scheduling contention. The company's multi-mission ground stations and global subscription-based service model are uniquely positioned to address this need.