Taking Space-Augmented JADO from Concept to Orbit in 2023

Taking Space-Augmented JADO from Concept to Orbit in 2023
July 20, 2022

To date, limited experiments on Earth show how space could potentially enhance Joint All-Domain Operations (JADO) but that’s about to significantly change.

In 2023, Lockheed Martin will launch its own constellation of small satellites to demonstrate how space can provide global battlefield awareness, sensing and connectivity in even the most austere, denied or contested areas.

Why is this Important?

Maintaining an information and decision advantage is key to 21st Century Security (21CS) for our nation and allies. The U.S. Department of Defense’s JADO vision is to connect assets across every domain – sea, land, air, space and cyber – to give our service members information superiority.

The ultimate high ground, space, will enable JADO by providing omni-present, connected information and data services over communications-challenged territories and regions to support Joint All-Domain Command & Control (JADC2) of theater-focused effects in a global context.

Lockheed Martin Space Augmented Joint All Domain Operations

Space-Augmented JADO Environment (SAJE) Test Bed

As part of its SAJE project, in early 2023, Lockheed Martin plans to launch three self-funded small satellites – two Pony Express 2 satellites and one Tactical Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) and Communications satellite – to establish a first-ever, space-based JADO test bed. This test bed will provide a variety of sensors, processors and communications links in space to perform live on orbit demonstrations and experiments.

The timing for fielding this new space testbed in 2023 couldn’t be better, as SAJE will be available to participate in the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Northern Edge exercise. SAJE would also be available for JADO demonstrations to advance the U.S. Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System (ABMS), the U.S. Navy’s Project Overmatch and the U.S. Army’s Project Convergence.

Space has played an increasing role in JADO demonstrations and exercises over the past five years, but re-tasking already-fielded satellites for a weeks-long demo presents challenges. SAJE will provide a no-cost alternative for the government to advance JADO.

This SAJE testbed will support experimentation in:

  • Real-Time Battle Management Command and Control (BMC2)
  • ISR Tasking
  • Mission Data Processing at the edge (SmartSat™)
  • Direct Downlink

The SAJE on-orbit testbed is just one example of how Lockheed Martin is quickly delivering new capabilities to our customers. A digital twin testbed network with mobile ground capabilities enables rapid prototyping before hardware or software is fielded. SmartSat™ enabled, the satellites can adjust to changing mission needs with the simplicity of an app push.

Pony Express 2 to Demo Mesh Networking


  • Launching early next year, two Pony Express 2 smallsats will demonstrate mesh networking and tactical communications, as well as Lockheed Martin’s mission-flexible SmartSatTM and HiveStarTM distributed application technologies.
  • This mission integrates four Lockheed Martin payloads on two small 12U Terran Orbital space vehicles, each about the size of a shoebox.
  • Pony Express 2 is part of a Lockheed Martin program for rapid-prototyping and flight qualifying new technology on orbit. It’s a follow-on to the successful Pony Express 1 mission launched in 2019.

Tactical ISR Sat (“TacSat”) To Host First
5G.MIL® Payload

  • The third satellite to launch – the Tactical Satellite (“TacSat”) – will demonstrate on-orbit processing, ISR sensing and communications capabilities.
  • TacSat will host a proven Lockheed Martin ISR sensor payload bringing previously developed technology to a space application.
  • The mission also will host the first-ever 5G.MIL® payload on orbit.
  • TacSat is based on the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Transport Layer Tranche 0 design, reducing risk for the SDA on future tranches while providing flexibility to prototype new types of payloads.
  • The satellite is built on a Terran Orbital Zuma bus, about the size of a mini-fridge.

Lockheed Martin’s investment with the SAJE constellation is all part of the company’s commitment to advance the DOD’s vision for JADO. Without cost to the government or diverting any of their existing space assets, SAJE is an innovative way to maximize customer-sponsored demos and to show how we can bring new capabilities to our warfighters.