The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) awarded four contracts on Nov. 2 to help build the “internet of space” and connect ground communications systems with diverse satellite networks.

The DIU’s Hybrid Space Architecture (HSA) project aims to leverage new commercial space systems to improve the speed and interoperability of data communications – anywhere on or off Earth.

The agency awarded contracts to SpiderOak Mission Systems, Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s Project Kuiper, and Microsoft Azure Space to assist in this mission. Dollar amounts of the contracts were not disclosed.

“This project will pursue the goals of an agile and resilient communications architecture that will be able to move data through commercial, military, and allied assets while integrating multi-domain cloud based storage and analytics,” said Rogan Shimmin, DIU program manager for HSA. “It’s time for the internet to move off-planet.”

The HSA will connect commercial and government systems through links such as the electromagnetic radio frequency spectrum, optical inter-satellite links, military tactical data links, and legacy and future ground segment wired networks.

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Jason Zander, executive vice president of strategic missions and technologies at Microsoft, explained in a blog post that the HSA “is essentially DoD’s effort to build an internet in space and will support the department’s goal of establishing information advantage for national security.”

In addition to its industry partners, the DIU is also collaborating with the U.S. Space Force (USSF) Space Warfighting Analysis Center, the Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate, and the USSF Space Systems Command on this effort.

In July, the DIU also announced four initial contract awards for the project to companies Aalyria, Anduril, Atlas, and Enveil.

“Hybrid Space Architecture ventures into an experimental communications vision that connects users from around the globe using modern and future communications,” said Steve Butow, director of DIU’s space portfolio. “The additional four awards from this solicitation provide new capabilities while seamlessly integrating into this dynamic and innovative collective of information and networking infrastructure that will provide resilient communications, and future technologies access, world-wide and beyond.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.