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DARPA aims to help military planners keep track of up to 1,000 targets of interest through management of available space domain resources. The goal of the Oversight program is to enable constant custody to maintain tracking of targets of interest for tactical missions. Apogee Research LLC, BAE Systems Information and Electronics Systems Integration Inc., and Systems & Technology Research LLC are developing software architectures for the initial phase of the program.
“Oversight seeks to support both peacetime and wartime simultaneous monitoring of high value entities in contested environments, where resources and targets of interest are highly dynamic,” said Lael Rudd, the program manager for Oversight in DARPA’s Tactical Technology Office. “Through this program, DARPA aims to extend the applicability of U.S. space assets and make the space domain more tactically relevant for warfighters.”
U.S. Space Force has been involved since the origin of the program and the Oversight team is in discussions with the Space Development Agency about potential integration into the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. The U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control (JADC2) might one day utilize Oversight’s space-based object tracking capability, providing enhanced situational awareness to assist in faster decision making and expediting government efforts to utilize the space domain during missions.
The program will leverage a large body of research about efficiently optimizing resources and apply it to use of future and current satellite assets. Oversight plans to also enable collaboration between satellite and ground-based resources. Newly developed algorithms will attempt to detect changing behaviors and dynamically re-task appropriate satellite sensors to track objects at scale.
Phase 1 of the program will define tracking requirements, resource management needs, and interface between technologies in development. In parallel, DARPA will assess current government-owned applications and services that could be leveraged. This phase will span 15 months, with a possible option of three months in continued development if needed.
“We are working with the military service branches on early transitions during Phase 1,” said Rudd. “We want to get initial products out as fast as possible and that will help cultivate the development needs in Oversight Phase 2, during which we plan to have applications running on hardware resources.”
After the yearlong Phase 2, DARPA aims to transition Oversight capabilities for integration into in-orbit spacecraft by Fiscal Year 2026. “Meeting Oversight’s goals will enable military personnel to track important targets of interest at a large scale with fewer operators than is possible today,” said Rudd.