Working Group E

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Working Group E

Commercialization, Innovation, & Synergies: A Reimagined Approach to Communications and Navigation Enterprise Integration
(Recording Unavailable)


The development of a commercial Ground Systems market for uplink and downlink Space Link Providers in the near space region is an exciting and substantial opportunity for government to benefit from innovative industry solutions. Over the past several months, NASA has concluded that the market has reached a maturity to enable 100% commercialization of direct-to-Earth radio frequency Satellite Ground Systems services. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has required NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation office (SCaN) to commercialize Earth proximity Ground networks. As a result, the Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center recently took part in a transformative realignment, reorganizing part of the communications and navigation workforce with the goal of engaging with commercial industry to garner new partnerships and develop a U.S. space communications and navigation ecosystem defined by resiliency and interoperability.

To move closer to that goal, Goddard has transitioned from the Near Earth Network and Space Network to the Near Space Network. That is a shift from NASA’s network architecture of three networks to two (the Deep Space Network managed by JPL and the Near Space Network managed by GSFC). NSN is a single, Goddard-managed end to end network that orchestrates management of services, space links, and data transports provided by either the ACCESS project or commercially and will serve missions throughout the entire lifecycle. SCaN will manage geosynchronous orbit (GEO) Ground Systems operations until TDRS fly-out and will continue to assess market viability for commercial space relay services. Creating the NSN will increase efficiency by establishing a single point for Ground Segment services fulfillment for user missions to increase value to SCaN’s customers.

The Commercialization, Innovation, and Synergies (CIS) Office at GSFC is connecting Ground System and Enterprise Architects from industry, academia, and other US government and international agencies to create a community of innovators dedicated to providing dependable ground systems architecture, communications, navigation, and data acquisition services. CIS and NSN are partnering to provide a one-stop, reputable and proactive team that will help a variety of missions achieve their goals.

During this interactive workshop, NASA leadership will be joined by a host of strategic government and industry partners to explore the future of enterprise integration and discuss the work being done throughout the community to identify opportunities, nurture diverse relationships, and implement collaborative solutions to enable or enhance needed capabilities and technologies in support of exploration and space communications. The discussion will be focused on the importance of fostering synergistic collaboration to accelerate infusion opportunities by leveraging private industry, other government agencies, and international partners.

This workshop will be presented in three parts (not including introductory and closing remarks) to effectively address this robust topic.

Introduction/Special Presentation: Bob Menrad, Associate Director of Flight Projects, Exploration and Space Communications Projects Division, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Dialogue 1: A discussion regarding the process and vital nature of utilizing commercial solutions for government space missions throughout NASA.

  • Mr. Greg Heckler, Director, Commercial Services Office, SCaN, NASA HQ

Dialogue 2: A discussion regarding current and future innovative capability needs, acquisition processes, and technology development in the realm of ground systems architecture, communications, navigation, and data acquisition services throughout the DOD.

  • Dialogue 2: COL Albert Olagbemiro, Space Systems Command, United States Space Force

Dialogue 3: A discussion regarding the importance of developing a space communications and navigation ecosystem defined by interoperability, compatibility, and enterprise standards.

  • Dr. Scott Pace, Director, Space Policy Institute, The George Washington University

Closing Remarks: Neal Barthelme, Acting Chief, Commercialization, Innovation, and Synergies Office

Leads Bob Menrad, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Alexandra Hale, The Aerospace Corporation


Bob Menrad serves a critical role in the Goddard Space Flight Center community, the agency at large and the industry of spaceflight. He provides strategic oversight to all Exploration and Space Communications projects, ensuring the division can empower the success of NASA science, technology, and exploration missions
through communications excellence and innovation. Bob has a Bachelor of Science, Physics from Rider University and a Master of Science, Computer Science from The Johns Hopkins University.Alexandra Hale recently joined The Aerospace Corporation after serving as Civil and Defense Space Partnerships Lead for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Commercialization, Innovation, and Synergies (CIS) Office. During her time with CIS, Ali worked with NASA and key leaders to strategically identify areas of alignment to advance commercialization efforts and promote an interoperable space ecosystem.Ali joined the CIS team after two years of serving as Vice President of the Space Transportation Association (STA). In that capacity, Ali was dedicated to providing an environment for the vital exchange of ideas between policy leaders throughout NASA, DOD, industry, and Congress on issues of space transportation, exploration, and innovation.Prior to her work with STA, Ali served in several roles with the mission of advancing national security. From 2015-2016, she was a researcher and analyst on the US Nuclear Documentation Project with the National Security Archive. Ali later joined the Center for Complex Operations at the National Defense University as a researcher on myriad issues and worked closely with a team to identify ways to strengthen current strategic readiness assessments in order to improve the Joint Force’s actual and potential capability to accomplish missions that do not conform to the traditional warfare paradigm. Ali’s work has been published in many forums.

She is a distinguished graduate of the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. Her studies focused on naval science with a concentration in Chinese language.


Working Group E Outbrief
Bob Menrad, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and Alexandra Hale, The Aerospace Corporation