Space Systems Command to Stand Up SpaceDEN in 2023

  • Published
  • By Paul Zetocha
Space Systems Command will be launching a new multi-level security, digital engineering ecosystem platform that will have initial operating capability in 2023 with full operational capability by 2025 to help the U.S. Space Force and its mission partners stay ahead of the threats.
The Space Digital Ecosystem and iNtegration or SpaceDEN, will be a multi-level-security, digital engineering ecosystem delivering high fidelity modeling, simulation, and analysis services to identify capability gaps, performance requirements and acquisition strategies to meet emerging threats.
When complete, SpaceDEN will feature the ability to perform live-simulations involving real people operating real systems, virtual-simulations involving real people operating simulated systems, and constructive-simulations involving pure computer-based simulations.
SSC’s Engineering and Integration Division, led by Col. Kenneth Decker, under Program Executive Officer, Brig. Gen. Timothy Sejba is standing up the new effort.
“When the Space Force was stood up, [the service’s first Chief of Space Operations] Gen. Raymond stated that we would be the first digital military force,” Decker said. “SpaceDEN embodies that vision and tackles a unique problem of Multi-Level Security that challenges our digital workforce today combined with a hybrid-cloud-based remotely accessible ecosystem.”
SpaceDEN will primarily support two different PEO mission sets: Space Domain Awareness and Battle Management, Command Control & Communications. 
SpaceDEN will serve as SSC’s key integration enabler facilitating and expediting the development, assessment, innovation, and delivery of improved space capabilities. It will enhance capability integration across the USSF’s Field Commands and mission partners to outpace rapidly emerging threats.
SpaceDEN will provide an urgently needed multi-security level environment that has access to both live and digital modeling systems representing the entire USSF ecosystem where trade studies, analyses, and war-gaming can be conducted in a rapid fashion. 
Live systems would include applications from USSF programs of record hosted on a variety of networks as well as near real-time data from platforms such as Warp Core and the Unified Data Library.  Digital modeling would include a model-based system engineering standardized toolset containing models of both space- and ground-based systems along with the environments that they operate in. 
The lack of such an environment leads to an increased risk for procuring systems that do not fully meet requirements, which increases cost, creates schedule delays, as well as the delivery of unsatisfactory systems. SpaceDEN will provide an infrastructure where technologies, architectures, and new concepts can be evaluated early in a realistic setting prior to making costly investments.
“SpaceDEN nodes will connect to wider, secure digital engineering environments with the ability to integrate key data, models, back-end integration, new apps, and capability roadmaps across SSC, USSF, USAF, and DoD wide,” Decker said.  “Our key to success is leveraging existing projects that have an Authoritative Source of Truth and focused pilots that help inform our SpaceDEN digital engineering environment architecture approach.”
In order to stand up SpaceDEN and provide initial operational capability, four lines of effort are underway.
The first LOE involves the physical construction of the Maple Facility in El Segundo and the installation of administration networks. This task is underway and will be completed by the end of FY23.
The second LOE includes the procurement, installation, and configuration, of the hybrid-cloud and cloud integration development environment in the Maple annex, which will enable demonstration of innovative and prototype software at IL-5. Initial operational capability for this environment will be by the third quarter of FY23. Implementation at the higher classification levels will deliver initial operational capability by the second quarter of FY24.
The third LOE will include the innovative and prototype software, which will deliver early IL-5 capabilities to clients in FY23. Additional capabilities at the higher classification levels will occur starting FY24. 
The fourth LOE involves accreditation of both the facilities and IT systems at the different security levels.  Physical facility accreditation will occur by the end of FY23, while network accreditation for the various networks is planned to be completed by the end of FY24.
When fully established, SpaceDEN, under the guidance of the Space Systems Integration Office, will help to integrate existing digital engineering efforts across the USSF ecosystem.  It will also leverage and serve to integrate disparate efforts currently underway across intelligence centers, programs of record, the Space Warfighting Analysis Center, field commands, and industry.
“Our team consists of many key industry partners that are committed to tackling existing integration problems,” Decker said. “We look forward to the future of SpaceDEN and having real-time ops insights with the ability to enhance SSC capability integration.”
For more information about the SpaceDEN, please contact