NASA Communications Services Program (CSP)
In recent years, the United States Government has requested NASA to develop a program where it promotes and utilizes commercial technologies for use in near-Earth operations. NASA will continue to develop technologies and systems for deep space operations, but for missions close to Earth, they will begin to use commercial SATCOM in order to stimulate innovation in the market, improve overall efficiency, and reduce costs for both providers and users. In order to facilitate this transition, NASA is formulating its Communication Services Program (CSP) “to better understand the current capabilities and the feasibility of integrating SATCOM systems into future agency missions in low-Earth orbit and eventually beyond.”
The CSP has outlined a three-phase strategy to transition towards using assets sold by commercial entities. The first phase is developing a strategy to identify and analyze NASA’s current usage and future communication needs. After the initial assessment, NASA will begin to establish mutually beneficial partnerships and award multiple contracts to develop and demonstrate system capabilities that meet various mission needs which will lead to increased public-private collaboration. The final phase involves NASA acquiring and transitioning to reliable and cost-effective SATCOM services from multiple industry partners.