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OMEN™ Delivers Multidomain Approach to Monitor Space Operations

Space impacts every aspect of our lives and plays a vital role for U.S. and allied forces operating globally. The explosion of commercial and government space programs presents opportunities to mask activity within the increasingly crowded orbital real estate. While numerous space domain awareness solutions aim to detect, monitor, and identify objects in orbit, a multidomain approach including terrestrial insight into operations from ground, air, maritime, and cyber observations will enrich understanding of national security threats.

3GIMBALS OMEN™ enables a multidomain approach to investigate the entire lifecycle of space programs for better visibility into operations. Examining organizations, entities, equipment, locations, and events surrounding space operations at an unclassified, shareable level enables more detailed activity analysis. 3GIMBALS traces space operations back to the ground.

Space Domain – Space programs rely on a robust network of public and private sector organizations for the manufacturing, testing, assembly, and launch of assets. Following activity at launch sites, manufacturing facilities, and launch assembly complexes, OMEN analysis develops comprehensive insights into the people and organizations connected to the space domain. Open-source, digital news, and social media reports capture photos and descriptions of rocket tests and launches documenting space domain progress on Earth.

Air Domain – By monitoring launch site airspace, the OMEN flight data layer tracks increased activity prior to launch including officials’ travel. Flight manifests and tracking data reveal organizations and entities connected to space operations. Tracking private aircraft hired to observe the transport of payloads and rockets to launch facilities provides insights into ground operations. Airspace closures signal an impending launch.

Ground Domain – OMEN ground-based analysis examines patterns of life for headquarters locations, research facilities, launch complexes, and logistics routes. Tracking industry events, business holdings, and assembly of essential personnel reveals readiness for testing, assembly, and launch. Device data, imagery, and affiliation of facilities enable OMEN solution experts to detect distinct patterns, pre, and post-launch, associated with state-sponsored research centers and launch facilities, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Activity at Russian state-sponsored research centers and launch facilities, April 2022.

Maritime Domain – At-sea launches enable space assets to reach a wider array of orbits than possible from ground-based sites. Observing port facilities, OMEN identifies indicators of upcoming launches and post-launch activity. Maritime-based closure areas provide warnings of satellite launches and intended orbits for assets. Vessel tracking systems and social media posts offer insight into the organization and location of sea launch platforms and support, referenced in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Social media posts follow Chinese port facilities construction for sea launch support, March 2022. March 20, 2022, CNSpaceflight twitter

Cyber Domain – The OMEN cyber layer reveals vulnerabilities across domains. Evaluating internet service providers, networks, components, and encryption enables cyber reviews of transmissions between satellites and ground stations, among satellites, and at ground level. The cyber domain covers digital activity on social media, Internet of Things devices, and online forums for entities in space programs.

OMEN fuses unclassified insights across domains for a holistic view of operations, beyond traditional space domain awareness. Applying advanced data science methodologies to multi-sensor datasets, OMEN explores patterns of life to reveal mission readiness, program procedures, and operational status. Figure 3 offers a glimpse of 3GIMBALS’ shareable multidomain dashboard.

Figure 3. 3GIMBALS’ shareable multidomain dashboard tracks open-source reporting of rocket launches and facilities.

Cooperation is critical to ensuring safe space operations. In February 2023, the Air Force Research Laboratory confirmed this stance, when the Space Domain Awareness Leadership Workshop included an international session with partner nations for the first time. OMEN creates a shared understanding of space operations from a terrestrial multidomain approach.

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