Lockheed Martin recently announced its plan to test its super innovative regenerative 5G satellites in orbit next year. The firm named this sophisticated technology 5G.MIL. Lockheed Martin self-funded the project to demonstrate 5G connectivity with the aid of space-based infrastructure. The primary goal of this program is to give military high-speed wireless communications of 5G from space.
Lockheed Martin started this project in 2020 and the firm hopes to offer a service it named an “all-domain network” using this technology. In simple terms, Lockheed aims to establish a seamless communications web between space assets, ships, aircraft, and ground forces through this technology.
Hence, 5G.MIL will surely be relevant to the military in the future. The program will also test the sophistication of 5G in space.
How this Program Will Test 5G From Space
In April this year, SpaceX launched the first ever 5G satellite into orbit. This implies that we are still new to using 5G from space. However, Lockheed Martin is focusing on developing its 5G.MIL specifically for military use. Dan Rice, Vice President of Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL program recently announced that the firm had successfully completed a hardware-in-the-loop test of a 5G non-terrestrial network payload last month.
The company plans to launch a satellite to low Earth orbit in 2024. Lockheed Martin built on this test in preparation for its space demonstration in 2024. Rice revealed that the payload is the first of its kind in the industry. The 5G.MIL is a regenerative advanced 5G satellite-based station built for non-terrestrial networks.
This technology will establish direct communications through satellites and bypass the need for terrestrial networks. The satellite base station can also interact with other satellites and ground stations as well. The signal processing and radio access network are onboard the satellite in regenerative base stations.
This makes it a more efficient in making the process. Commercial companies have already demonstrated the usage of 5G connectivity from space. Space News reveals that the networking processing functions are often performed on the ground and the satellite stands as a relay node to connect the ground to users.
But unlike 5G from space connectivity of other companies, Lockheed Martin’s 5G.MIL contains all the needed software and hardware to operate more efficiently. This includes the radio access network and the core network specifically for user authentications.
Lockheed Martin explains that this step will offer extra resiliency to users. While the firm was conducting the test last month, the team noticed that the satellite-based station and user equipment connected successfully and transferred data such as live video streaming.
Technologies Involved In 5G.MIL Asset
Lockheed Martin revealed that its 5G network comes with 3GPP Release 17, which is an industry standard. The 33rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) creates wireless communications standards for the entire world. Lockheed Martin deployed its 5G payload with the aid of an open radio access network.
Hence, this technology can enable mobile service providers to build networks with the aid of non-proprietary and interoperable subcomponents. During the early October test, Lockheed Martin showed a live field demonstration of creating a hybrid network for land, air, and space domains.
“Space-based communications will provide high-speed backhaul to land, air, and sea 5G.MIL Hybrid Base Stations as well as direct access to user equipment running 3GPP NTN standard protocols from orbit,” said Rice. “Regenerative NTN solutions enable direct, satellite-based secure communications between users in a coverage area – bypassing more vulnerable terrestrial networks, when necessary,” he added.
Lockheed Martin also explained the sophistication of the technology.
“Lockheed Martin’s standards-based approach is compliant with 3GPP Release 17 and was developed in anticipation of pre-Release 18 & 19 regenerative specifications. 5G NTN provides another communications pathway to support ubiquitous, heterogeneous communications across all operational domains in support of customer missions,” explained Lockheed Martin.
Lockheed Martin recently announced its plan to test its super innovative regenerative 5G satellites in orbit in 2024. This technology will unlock new potential for the company. What do you think about this 5G from Space technology?