Missile Defense Agency Begins Experiment on Small Satellites

The Missile Defense Agency is launching an experiment on small satellites


Two small CubeSat satellites operated by Missile Defense Agency connected to ground stations as part of a communication experiment.

The MDA said Monday that its CubeSat network communications experiment aims to demonstrate how nanosatellites can detect radio communications in orbit. CNCE is part of MDA’s larger Nanosat Testbed initiative.

The agency believes that this communication approach has the potential to significantly increase missile defense technology.

The first block of CNCE will demonstrate communications for software-defined radio stations, ad hoc networks and situations in which the antennas are not optimally positioned. Efforts will also test how small satellites can show formation flight.

VOX Space, a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit, launched the CubeSats pair on a LauncherOne rocket through the Department of Defense’s Space Testing Program, which offers sharing arrangements.