Solstar Space has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Contract worth $1,249,269 by the U.S. Space Force to continue the development of its Critical Data Relay Spacecraft Operational Status (CritDR-SOS), also known as the Deke Space Communicator (Deke).
The Deke is a small form-factor device that integrates with a spacecraft’s Telemetry, Tracking and Commanding (TT&C) system to provide bi-directional, continuous, internet-based monitoring of the spacecraft’s bus, payload, and environment. It also enables satellite connectivity with operators or end users through robust commercial communications paths, thereby eliminating spacecraft situational awareness gaps.
The U.S. Space Force considers monitoring an increasing number of satellites, including commercially owned and operated mega-constellations, a top priority. With Solstar’s Deke, the Department of Air Force (DAF) can connect space assets, making the communications network more resilient. This effort aligns with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) recent directive to have de-orbiting capability on-board all spacecraft, which the Deke facilitates.
In addition to Solstar’s collaboration with the U.S. Space Force, the New Mexico Institute of Space Force Mining and Technology (NMT) is developing a Spacecraft Health Monitor (SHM) that will connect to the Deke to send and receive spacecraft data. This will provide detailed spacecraft operating data and proactive alerts to address any faults efficiently.
The Deke enables narrowband communications for both uplink and downlink, reducing the time it takes to download mission data or adjust on-orbit systems. By combining the Solstar Deke with New Mexico Tech’s Spacecraft Health Monitor, 24/7 awareness of satellite health is achieved.