NOAA selects Parsons as integrator for space traffic coordination system

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced the award of a USD15.5 million contract to Parsons Corporation for system integration and cloud management services for the Traffic Coordination System for Space (TraCSS). 

NOAA’s Office of Space Commerce (OSC) is developing TraCSS as a modern, cloud-based IT system that will provide basic space situational awareness (SSA) and space traffic coordination (STC) services to private and civil space operators. Such services are required for global spaceflight safety and the long-term sustainability of the space environment for commercial, civil, national security and international uses.

OSC is taking over responsibility from the Department of Defense for the provision of basic SSA data and STC services to commercial and civil space operators.

As the system integrator, Parsons will develop the software backbone for the operational TraCSS platform, including the SSA data repository (TraCSS-OASIS) and the application layer (TraCSS-SKYLINE). The company will integrate containerised, third-party software components from commercial companies into TraCSS. Following an agile development approach, Parsons will build the basic infrastructure for the TraCSS system that will allow continuous improvement and evolution to react to changing TraCSS mission needs. The company’s role also encompasses management of cloud services, cybersecurity protection and system administration for TraCSS operations.

The contract has a one-year base value of USD15,534,379, with one option to extend for another year for a maximum potential value of USD26,883,047.

The award to Parsons represents OSC’s second major acquisition for the infrastructure components of the operational TraCSS system. The first was a task order awarded to AWS in August 2023 to establish the secure cloud computing infrastructure to host TraCSS. In October 2023, OSC issued a Request for Information for the third major TraCSS acquisition — the provision of a presentation layer that will provide the user interface to display and access SSA data and services. NOAA is currently conducting market research for the TraCSS presentation layer.

In advance of the operational TraCSS, OSC has also initiated several pathfinder projects, including the ongoing Consolidated Pathfinder, focusing on how commercial SSA capabilities can be tested and integrated by the government. OSC also entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with SpaceX to assess their software for automating collision avoidance in satellite constellations.

On March 5, 2024, US Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves issued an Authority to Proceed memorandum for Phase 1 of the TraCSS program.

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