Interoperable components with standardized interfaces key to future aerospace systems

LONG BEACH, Calif., 5 April 2014. U.S. Government officials seek interoperable components that support a variety of [satellite] buses, providing an easy, standardized interface, to build satellites more efficiently and competitively, describes Bernard “Bernie” F. Collins II, senior advisor, office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Government, at the Space Tech Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

Apr 5th, 2014
CubeSat
CubeSat

LONG BEACH, Calif., 5 April 2014. U.S. Government officials seek interoperable components that support a variety of [satellite] buses, providing an easy, standardized interface, to build satellites more efficiently and competitively, describes Bernard “Bernie” F. Collins II, senior advisor, office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Government, at the Space Tech Conference in Long Beach, Calif.

“Competition is very real and the savings of common components is very real; margins are better,” says Collins, who sings the praises of standardizing the interface of components so they are interoperable.

“Space is one of the last sectors to look at adopting interoperability standards – aircraft and even automobiles” adopt such standards, Collins says. In fact, he is heading to Amsterdam to explore the potential to share information and technology. “It would be controversial for the U.S. Government to buy European buses, but that is no reason to rest on our laurels. The U.S. can catch up,” he says.

Interoperability standards reduce cost, promote competition, and provide access to new markets, according to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Collins and his colleagues in the U.S. Government seek standardized technologies and components to “make it easier to build satellites, so we can spend more of our time designing and developing really cool payloads.

“There are benefits beyond cost savings for standardized interfaces. There’s increased reliability, reduced inventory risk, and the ability to incorporate innovation and mitigate obsolescence. We need to be able to easily ingest change as an industry,” Collins adds.

“Budgets for space systems are not going to go up in the foreseeable future, so we need to work together to leverage existing cost-reduction capabilities now and to communicate so we can make it so that systems align,” Collins stresses.

You’re going to start seeing preferential language in RFPs, such as for MONA modular open network architectures. It’s inevitable – if the Europeans do it first, the U.S. will have to adapt. We need to get ahead of it. It’s not going to be a cakewalk; it takes a lot of work, but we need to find a way to get as much benefit of it as an individual company and the industry does as a whole.

“With that, I need to roll,” Collins concluded.

More in Communications