Odyssey Featured Programs

Odyssey Solutions Innovation Group (SIG)

Solutions Innovation Group (SIG) is a reflection of Odyssey’s leadership, vision and dedication to supporting the warfighter. With the acquisition of Tradecraft Technologies in 2019, Odyssey’s vision for providing advanced solutions for the warfighter became a reality and the Solutions Innovation Group (SIG) was born.

The SIG Mission

SIG LogoLed by Stephen St. Mary, the SIG’s core mission is to make forward-leaning investments to solve “stubborn” problems across the Defense, Intelligence and Security communities. SIG uses commercial-style investment and agility to develop product-based solutions while applying Government requirements and standards. The result is higher quality, lower-cost solutions that can be delivered rapidly to the warfighter.

The SIG Strategy

To be successful, SIG has developed and abides by a number of strategic imperatives spanning business, infrastructure, technology, services, and markets—all are required to work in concert. This team and approach have a history of success having fielded over 350 solutions spanning multiple programs and technologies across every COCOM, Service and many coalition partners.

Business

SIG is developing a portfolio of high-value, mission critical products and solutions for which Odyssey Systems owns the intellectual property and can license to US and Coalition Partner Government customers. Odyssey direct investment is what makes this possible.

Development & Infrastructure

SIG takes advantage of proven, Agile development methodologies supported by an AWS and Azure cloud-based Dev/Ops environment. This Agile approach, cloud-based tools, and infrastructure allow SIG teams to perform continuous development, integration, test, and deployment.

Through the use of a geographically dispersed team, SIG maintains continuous development and deployment around the clock with seamless hand-offs between regional teams throughout a 24-hour cycle. Development and test activities drive forward 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Technology

Grounded in time-tested technologies while also adopting promising, new and emerging technologies and tools, SIG is able to expedite the rapid design, development, and deployment of innovative solutions. An emphasis is placed on developing reusable, foundational components that can go into the SIG “tool kit“ for rapid assembly as needed. Built it once, use it repeatedly.

For example, SIG has robust, flexible components for IA-compliant operating systems and containers, established user interface styles, strong user authentication, roles and permissions, data parsers and normalization services, 2D and 3D maps, globes iconography and models, real-time and forensic geospatial data visualizations tools, DoD and NATO STANAG-compliant payload/sensor data integrations and visualizations (i.e., Video, GMTI, IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT, OSINT, BFT, etc.). These components and many more can be pulled from the SIG toolbox to rapidly create the foundation of new, innovative solutions, significantly accelerating the delivery of that solution while reducing cost and risk.

Services

SIG services are focused exclusively on design, development, testing, deployment, and maintenance of SIG products and solutions. This approach ensures resources are clearly and consistently focused on the SIG mission while also delivering customers high-value, subject matter expertise.

Additionally, because SIG is a commercial solution provider, what would traditionally be service labor can be “productized.” For example, providing on-going IA compliance, patching, and updating of deployed systems can be offered at a fixed price vs. hourly engineering rate. In a product environment, this creates significant synergies as these updates are largely common across a range of customers/deployments but need only be prepared once.

Portfolio Investment

SIG encourages all Odyssey team members to consider their customers and challenges as potential candidates for investment.

While much is done to ensure rapid, cost-effective development of new products and solutions, considerable investment is still often required to achieve a demonstrable, customer-tailored solution. For this reason, SIG has a formalized approach to vet candidate pursuits.

  • Is there critical demand for a long-standing, yet unmet need?
  • Is there an incumbent solution we’d need to unseat?
  • Do we have, or can we obtain subject matter expertise in this domain?
  • Do we have the relationships to engage problems owners / influencers?
  • Is there a viable pathway to Government funding?
  • What time and investment will be required to deliver the solution?
  • Do forecasted license and labor revenues warrant the investment?
  • What risks and opportunities exist? Plans to mitigate / capitalize on these?

The SIG team welcomes the opportunity to work with individuals or teams to discuss and answer these questions. When answered, a well-informed presentation can be made to the executive team for discussion and consideration.

Advanced Mission Planning System

The Challenge: A $5+ Billion a Year Enterprise run on Spreadsheets

The U.S. DoD/IC operates a $5-$8 Billion a year A-ISR enterprise spanning all COCOMs, Services and Coalition partners with hundreds of daily missions supported around the clock by nearly ten thousand personnel. Spreadsheets and PowerPoint continue to be the primary tool to orchestrate most aspects of A-ISR mission planning, management, and reporting.

There is currently no common systems capability, tools, forms, or standards in place to enable comprehensive planning, allocation, tasking and reporting solution. Each group cobbles together their own approach to managing data that entails considerable time spent copying and pasting data from one sheet, slide or system to another.

Interviews with servicemen and women indicate there are over 1,000 hours per day spent copying and pasting data equating to 180-man years at the cost of ~$23M annually. Furthermore, they estimate that once tasked, and there is a 25%+ inefficiency/redundancy of operations across the enterprise. Based upon these numbers, the DoD is losing $1.25 – $2.0 billion annually in the utility of their A-ISR enterprise at a time when the Government struggles to satisfy an increasing demand for ISR coverage, collection & analysis.

The Solution: Real-time, Global Collaboration Portal

Global Collaboration PortalThe AMPS software was designed to support the A-ISR enterprise with a common visual workflow and intuitive tools to manage and report on the end-to-end process—from initial intelligence request and collection management to mission management, aircraft and flight crew assignment, PED scheduling and reporting. Given the component-based architecture of AMPS, capabilities and features are turned on, off or restricted based upon individual user permissions. This allows for a role-focused interface free from tools or data they do not require or should not have access to.

The current capability delivers global visualization, workflow and reporting on the location, status and tasking of all airborne ISR platforms, payloads, Flight Crews and PED Teams across the enterprise.

The AMPS software can be deployed in the cloud or on physical servers or virtual machines based upon customer environment.

The Impact

  • HGlobal Collaboration Portaligh-fidelity, real-time awareness of global operations, collections and unit status
  • Real-time ability to adapt, respond to or take advantage of battlefield situations
  • Improved mission support for deployed units
  • Increased efficiency/reduced manual workload
  • The increased platform, payload, personnel utilization
  • A strong foundation for advanced analytics, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Markets/Customers

Organizations managing intelligence collection, tasking, collection and reporting to include all associates coordination, scheduling and tracking of platforms, payload, and personnel.

Multi-INT Cross Domain Security Solution

The Challenge: Data-hungry Warfighter hamstrung by A&A

Traditional CDS architectures and policies require modification and re-accreditation to add a new data source/data type—or even a minor change to an existing format. Cross domain modifications must often be made by the vendor in a vendor-specific, proprietary coding language. Modifications and re-accreditation are expensive and time-consuming—months to a year. The pace of operations & technology overtakes the ability to modify and re-accredit the guard. Time, cost and effort to update a traditional CDS discourage upgrades, enhancement & innovation.

The Solution: Real-time, Global Collaboration Portal

Global Collaboration PortalLeverage proven, high-performance COTS equipment and adaptive architecture to deliver a bi-directional, Multi-INT multi-level security solution that keeps pace with the warfighter. An Odyssey SIG Guard Normalization Server (GNS) is paired with, but separate from, a newly accredited Cross Domain Solution.

  • The Guard is accredited once for a broad range of common data types and format standards (FMV, Imagery, Radar, Microsoft Files, KML, XML, etc.)
  • The GNS is a real-time streaming server that ingests, transcodes and normalizes a wide-variety of open source, operations and intelligence data
  • The GNS converts ingested data into to a format matching the already accredited guard ruleset

In the event a new, complex data source/type is introduced that cannot pass through the GNS, it can be updated quickly to accommodate—typically taking hours or days to a week—without triggering review and re-accreditation.

Global Collaboration Portal

The Impact

  • Global Collaboration PortalLittle to zero down-time for any data type that can be converted to an existing DoD, NATO or SIG standard for common intelligence sources (Video, Imagery, GMTI, SIGINT, Weather, KML, KMZ, MS Files, email, text, PDF, XML, etc.)
  • Significant time and cost savings for the program office
  • Compact tactical units span 3 domains in under 15lbs. / Enterprise is 3u
  • Warfighters have access to, and can move real-time streaming or static files up and down security levels
  • Program and warfighters are no longer discouraged from innovation that often carries with it new sources, data types and formats

SIG Solutions under Consideration

  • Multi-INT Processing, Exploitation & Dissemination Solutions (PED)
  • Browser-based, Global Command & Control Systems (Payload C2/COP)
  • AI-derived Avionics Analytics for Predictive Logistics, Sparing & Maintenance

SIG Engagement

The SIG team has been busy laying the groundwork for this new division while also securing initial contracts from key customers—this group looks forward to engaging the broader Odyssey family in the coming months to identify customer challenges and opportunities.

Author: Stephen St. Mary, Director, Solutions Innovation Group

GPS: Technological Marvel, Cornerstone
Capability for the World, Pivotal US Defense Pillar,
and Economic Driver

GPS IllustrationThe United States Global Positioning System (GPS) is considered one of the technological marvels of our time. Space-based navigation signals provided from a constellation of satellites provide 7+ Billion users around the world with ubiquitous positioning, navigation, and timing (PNT) service.

Very precise and free of charge for use by anyone with a receiver, the PNT services provided by GPS signals and data have become integral to numerous facets of the modern world. Timing service is critical to our banking, commerce, communications networks and other important areas of modern-day infrastructures. The PNT provided by GPS enables decreased emergency response time, electrical power grids, precision agriculture, improved shipping logistics, and as I’m sure you already know, GPS has military applications that enable precise troop movements and precision guidance for weapons among others … and let’s not forget GPS has also helped millions of ordinary citizens locate the nearest coffee shop, access ATM banking, utilize smartphones, surf the internet, use their favorite app’s, and find their way around town during their normal daily routines.

I’m fortunate to work on one of Odyssey’s most exciting projects, the GPS/PNT OASIS task order to U.S. Air Force Space Command. My fellow Odyssey GPS/PNT employees and I have an average of nearly two decades each working GPS requirements and operations. To many, the box in their hand or installed in their cars or cell phones is simply “magic”. In actuality, the magic is rather complex, but the principles behind it are relatively simple. I’m excited to share a bit of GPS/PNT knowledge with you and tell you a little about how Odyssey supports this important undertaking.

GPS DiagramLet’s start with some satellite navigation basics. We’ll leave out the number crunching and break it down to key tenets. GPS satellites are in semi-synchronous orbits meaning they orbit the Earth almost exactly twice in a 24-hour period at an altitude of over 12,000 miles. The satellites are in six distinct “planes” that normally have four satellites spaced out in each plane yielding a nominal constellation of 24 satellites. The satellites are launched into this constellation construct to ensure that most places on the surface of the Earth have at least four satellites visible at any time. That’s important because GPS receivers require a minimum of 4 satellites to calculate position and time by estimating the distance, or range, to satellites at known positions. The simplified geometry of the principle is shown in the diagram below. For this simple process to work, precise timing is required because the GPS receiver has to know where to “look” for a particular satellite and when that satellite should be in a particular location in its orbit. For this to happen, GPS satellites have very precise atomic clocks. Each satellite sends unique identifiers as part of the signals it transmits and a timestamp of when a particular signal was transmitted. This operation called “ranging” allows for trilateration to solve for four unknowns, which are the user three dimensional positions, annotated in the diagram as (x,y,z) and time, t.

Some folks confuse triangulation with trilateration, but they are very different mathematical positioning methods. Triangulation, as the name implies, uses angles to narrow down position from known reference points and is useful in two-dimensional (x, y) applications. Trilateration, on the other hand, uses the ranging process to provide three-dimensional position. [Note: for those who really want to get “geeky,” GPS does use angles in the final position determination relative to the surface of the Earth after the trilateration computation, but that’s for a more elaborate discussion and we’ll forgo that here.]

As mentioned above, very precise timing on board each GPS satellite is required for this methodology to work to ensure the system provides the PNT service that users all over the world enjoy. Satellite clocks and orbital information are kept within tight tolerances by U.S. Air Force Space Command’s 2nd Space Operations Squadron (2 SOPS) at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado. Satellite operation crews at 2 SOPS operate a global network of ground-based monitor stations. The 2 SOPS uses data from the monitor stations to feed a predictive filter (a Kalman filter for you statistical geeks) so that satellite clocks and orbit determination data are precisely updated on a routine basis in order to maintain 24 / 7 / 365 service. It’s a very effective system, so much so that with an inexpensive GPS receiver you actually have atomic clock precision level timing and accurate position location—provided free of use!

The signals sent from GPS satellites are actually very weak. When leaving the satellites, they have about the same power as the light bulb in your refrigerator. By the time the signals reach the receiver in your cell phone or your car after traveling several thousand miles, they have weakened even more, to far less than a watt—for those curious the nominal received signal power of a GPS signal is about 0.0000000000000001 watt. Enhanced by frequency selection, modulation schemes, and approaches to allow for multiple users, GPS signals are designed to work at these low power levels. However, the low power presents tempting attack surfaces for those intent upon disrupting GPS position and timing services in both civilian and military environments.

This is where Odyssey’s support to Air Force Space Command comes in. Odyssey SMEs provide experienced support as all components of the GPS Enterprise—Satellite Vehicles, Ground Control Station, User Equipment—are modernizing with a major focus on mitigating and minimizing attempts to jam signal reception and attempts to “fool” GPS receivers with fake signals. Odyssey teammates supporting U.S. Air Force Space Command have experience and expertise with all facets of the GPS Enterprise and the underlying modernization efforts. We provide counsel on military and civil capabilities of future satellite vehicles, the future ground control system to command and control the constellation of satellites, and the next generation of military receivers to take advantage of improved and enhanced signals.

The Odyssey GPS/PNT team is the main interface with civil and military organizations in developing and refining overall system requirements. We also manage and shepherd the requirements process for U.S. Air Force Space Command to ensure that focus is on delivery of capabilities that secure and protect GPS services. We ensure that GPS requirements are in sync with federal law, government policy, and other lower-level directives. This includes Presidential direction, the National Military Strategy, and overarching DoD and other policies from other Cabinet Departments such as Commerce, Transportation, and Homeland Security. GPS deservedly gets a lot of attention and governmental oversight. It’s not just a point A to B utility, as evidenced by GPS support across the 16 critical infrastructure areas identified in Presidential Policy Directive 21. Quite frankly, GPS “is” a part of the fabric of modern life.

While you may only think of GPS as just an aid to finding the closest gas station, GPS has become critical to civilian applications and innovations. In addition to the utility it provides in your day-to-day life, GPS also brings great economic benefits to the US. A few examples of GPS benefits: increased productivity with routes, delivery services, and positive transportation control; reduced costs in many applications such as precision farming, construction, earth-moving; and network synchronization enabling global transactions and point-of-sale transactions. So, the next time you use GPS to play Pokemon Go or for geocaching fun, think about the economic impact GPS has in the US alone, currently estimated to be at more than 0.3 percent of GDP, or somewhere north of $100Billion.

Before I conclude this article, I’m going to diverge a bit with a public service announcement in the form of “GPS does not get you lost.” I’ve worked with GPS for many years in many facets, but have spent most of the time working with receivers. While there are many things I could impart on you, there’s one takeaway I’d like to leave you with regarding GPS service and GPS receivers in general, whether the receiver is in your car, your cell phone, or a stand-alone unit. Refer back to the earlier diagram with (x,y,z,t). That’s what GPS provides you—three-dimensional location and time backed up by a chunk of precise math.

low bridge sign

With that in mind, please recognize the turn-by-turn instructions and the location of that coffee shop is provided via receivermapping software overlays, not, I repeat, not, GPS. So, the “turn left in 100 feet” directly into the lake instruction or steer the 14ft tall tractor-trailer under the 12ft overpass is not a GPS error. It’s a function of low quality or poorly maintained receiver software databases, many based on out-of-date maps and city planning data that has been digitized for ease-of-display, and often, memory constraints, on a receiver. Even though I’ve worked GPS for nearly two decades and use it regularly, I still remind myself to keep my head ‘outside the box’ and orient myself in the environment where I’m located. In that way, if my receiver tells me to drive on a one-way street or gives me directions that don’t make sense, I don’t follow it with blind faith.

In conclusion, the work my fellow Odyssey employees and I do in support of U.S. Air Force Space Command can be complex and tedious at times as we experience the normal back and forth dynamics common with any government agency. However, we realize how important the support provided by Odyssey is to the GPS Enterprise, how important GPS is to both military and civilian US national interests, and the day-to-day free utility accessible around the globe. As GPS is integrated into even more technologies and applications, its use will further expand. The new signals and other improvements in the future GPS system for which Odyssey assists our Customer to define and deliver will continue as the world cornerstone for PNT infrastructure.

Author: Mr. Tim Britt, GPS SME, OASIS PNT/GPS support to HQ AFSPC/A5M

ORS-5 Program and QZSS-HP
(Quasi-Zenith Satellite System—Hosted Payload)

DoD and NASA logosOne of the groups supported by Odyssey at MIT Lincoln Laboratory is the Integrated Systems and Concepts Group. The group specializes in rapidly developing and field-testing innovative and novel sensor systems for a multitude of government agencies including the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, and NASA.

A significant focus has been on the integration of novel sensor technologies into field-deployable units for operational use. In doing this, the group leverages a broad range of technologies and works closely with end-users in all program phases. Odyssey personnel have recently worked on the ORS-Project. This project has included building, testing, and operations for the ORS-5 satellite, or SensorSat, as it’s called internally. This project is funded by the U.S. Air Force’s Space Rapid Capabilities Office, formerly known as Operationally Responsive Space.

SensorSat is a small space vehicle designed to fly in LEO while continuously scanning the geosynchronous belt. It was designed to be a smaller and low-cost alternative to larger satellites with a mission life of greater than 3 years. The simpler design of the vehicle allowed for the development, construction, and testing processes to be completed in a mere 3 years, approximately one-third of the time it would take to develop and field large surveillance satellites. The program is managed by The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and was the first program to be installed into their Multi-Mission Space Operations Center (MMSOC), laying the foundation for further programs. Odyssey supports the ongoing development and maintenance of the SensorSat ground system software and data-processing efforts. This is the first major satellite build that has come out of MIT Lincoln Laboratory since the 1970s and it continues to perform well to date.

Odyssey also supports an up and coming project known as QZSS-HP (Quasi-Zenith Satellite System – Hosted Payload) which is a joint venture between the United States and Japan. In this case, MIT Lincoln Laboratory is building payload units for Japan to host on their GPS compatible constellation satellites. These payloads will also provide space situational awareness (SSA) data but in this case, they will actually be stationed directly in the GEO belt.

Odyssey currently assists in the development of the ground system that will support QZSS-HP utilizing the ground api architecture provided by the software package, Neptune. Neptune provides a generic interface for a GRM-TTC system that can be used to fly many payloads simultaneously. The ground system is developed in a combination of C, C++, and Python, and includes interfaces with MySQL databases, GUIs developed in Python and front-end hooks to be used by a web page.

Ongoing work includes developing sub-processes to manage and control the system in real-time (TT&C), and we are currently working closely with the flight software developers to easily facilitate an agnostic testing framework for software in the loop tests. Additional testing infrastructure will be created in Python, in a framework that provides generic functions and scripts so that future projects utilizing Neptune framework can be started, designed, developed, and tested more efficiently.

Authors: Michael Wezalis, William Byrd, Paytyn Corkran

Command and Control Battle Management Communications System (C2BMC)

Technology is necessary but not by itself sufficient. To maximize its usefulness it must be integrated with human knowledge, experience, and analysis. Often we get caught in a routine of doing things the way they’ve always been done … simply replicating a work regimen. But when you spot opportunities in your customers’ business where you can help and take decisive action to serve them well, you stand out.

Such was the case with our Odyssey team that supports Command and Control Battle Management Communications System (C2BMC) from their operational lab at Schriever AFB, Colorado Springs. Odyssey personnel (blending technological innovation with their vast experience and expertise) went beyond customer expectations and positively reshaped their work environment.

The CST

Odyssey personnel, under the leadership of Robert Seetin (Lead Engineer), form the bulk of the C2BMC Support Team (CST) located in the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center (MDIOC) on Schriever AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The team operates in an operational environment that is continuously connected to all C2BMC operational suites worldwide along with the ground test and experimental lab located in the MDIOC.

Missile Defense C2BMC (MDA/BC) leadership relies on the Odyssey C2BMC team for information regarding C2BMC system performance, overall operational viability of the system, system deficiencies, connectivity issues, situational awareness on all launches along with various anomalous events, and a myriad of analytical reports.

Mission tasks include:

  • Monitoring C2BMC system performance worldwide
  • Providing assessment of real-world C2BMC performance including issues, deficiencies, and detailed analysis of high visibility and off-nominal events
  • Supporting/reviewing missile defense flight tests
  • Assessing Distributed and Hardware in the Loop ground test performance
  • Preparing briefs for leadership and Warfighters as requested including Video and PPT Playbooks
  • Providing educational material for leadership and Warfighters, generally regarding pre and post flight test reports, and PPT and Video Playbooks
  • Providing detailed reports, PPT and Video playbooks on selected high-visibility launches
  • Hosting VIP tours (Distinguished visitors, Warfighters, congressional contingents)
  • Preparation of aggregate missile event reports based upon years of collecting data on all missile event launches (especially crucial for leadership’s end-of-year reporting)

A New Computer System

Odyssey C2BMC team’s vast missile defense experience guided their development of a computer system to automatically capture information about every missile launch worldwide. That system, coupled with new processes, greatly improved operational efficiency and transformed the collection/dissemination of information regarding missile events worldwide.

The Database

The computer system, developed by Odyssey personnel, is centered on populating a comprehensive, centralized data source, known as the missile-event database. This SQL database holds detailed information about every missile launch worldwide reported on C2BMC.

Data fields are formulated from three sources:

Data Source 1: Missile ‘launch-event-profiles’ are created and populated electronically by programmatically tapping into the data stream sent to user-interface-terminals worldwide. A JAVA program ‘auto-captures’ baseline information about each launch such as country, missile type, launch-date-time, alert-date-time, sensor report details, etc.

Data Source 2: The ‘auto-captured’ launch data from the electronic source is essential. However, it is not sufficient as it does not include critical analysis and performance criteria. Those components are manually added to each launch profile, once the Odyssey subject matter experts critically review the launch.

Data Source 3: It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. To that end, the new system allows for linking to annotated screen-shots that show launch track picture(s) as displayed on the C2BMC operational screens. Odyssey subject matter experts decide what pictures best exemplify each launch. The ‘linked’ pictures can be augmented with notes/annotations that highlight important aspects of the launch.

Web-Based User Interface

The Odyssey team designed and programmed a web-based, user interface to the missile event database. The web interface facilitates user access to all missile-event launch profiles. In addition, aggregate data reports are available through a set of canned reports plus a myriad of filters to provide exhaustive ad-hoc reporting.

Reports and Analytics

Database analytics provide insight into missile event activity on an aggregated basis, and Odyssey has been instrumental in providing leadership and stakeholders with statistical data required for system oversight and monitoring missile event activity worldwide.

Iterative, Customer Led Development

Odyssey team has fostered community involvement in product development. Processes and system development continue to be iterative based upon positive interaction with leadership and stakeholders. This proactive customer interaction has resulted in the adoption of improved processes as well as the creation of new report filters and standard reports on the user interface.

Bottom Line

Odyssey personnel’s strong work ethic, experience, expertise, and willingness to go the extra mile combined to positively transform their environment and provide incredible and unexpected value to their customer.

Authors: John Dowling and Robert Seetin

Do you have ideas or suggestions for content you’d like to see in The Journey?
Please let us know: catherineemond@odysseyconsult.com.