EngineerThe Solution

ENGINEER

LinQuest provides systems engineering excellence developed with process discipline and backed by domain expertise.

Rapid Development Solution to Field an End-to-End SATCOM System

LinQuest has the ability to bring the best products available on the market to deliver end-to-end solutions in less time with less money. On our SATCOM Payload Demonstration Program, LinQuest led a team of large subcontractors that showcased both our engineering talent as well as our ability to manage a very tight schedule and remain within cost. LinQuest, as the prime contractor on this FFP contract, executed a rapid development solution to field an end-to-end Commercial Satellite Communications System. At the onset, there were many sceptics saying this program was impossible and that LinQuest could not design, build, and integrate a new SATCOM payload and deliver it in 18 months. We proved we could produce a high-quality product, on schedule, while performing within the allocated cost constraints. In relation to the satellite owner, LinQuest worked with our subcontractors to develop the payload that was hosted on a Commercial Satellite Bus with the following constraints: “Do not harm the spacecraft, and deliver in 13 months or miss the ride.” During this period, LinQuest had to work out several technical issues and anomalies to maintain performance and remain on schedule. We met every constraint on the program.

Today, many traditional government satellite programs take six to eight years to field from initial design to operational testing. Our systems engineering processes have been tailored for efficiency and can be applied by domain experts in all phases of design-build. We fielded this commercial service in 20 months by actively managing our subcontracts and costs, monitoring the IMS critical path, and aggressively mitigating risks.

LinQuest executed a rapid development solution to field an end-to-end Commercial Satellite Communications System.

LinQuest recognized an opportunity to save time and money by building a solution around existing commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) components to provide a proof of concept demonstration. Our innovative approach required we flow-up the COTS products specifications to drive the system-level requirements. This deviated from the traditional Vee systems engineering approach where one starts from customer requirements and progresses with developing system level specifications and then flowing the requirements to the lower-level segments/components. This approach also required LinQuest to tailor its INCOSE-based systems engineering and integration (SE&I) processes. LinQuest accomplished this in a manner that ensured all aspects of the system integration and test occurred on time with a small group of engineers, all while inviting the customer to witness risk reduction testing along the way. In particular, LinQuest used two innovative SE&I approaches to expedite the schedule while upholding the SE&I discipline:

  • System Integration Plan (SIP) bubble diagrams were used to show how to build on small successes as components and subsystems are tested and integrated together
  • To execute these tasks, LinQuest automated and consolidated Requirements Traceability Matrix (RTM), Verification Cross-Reference Matrix (VCRM), and Requirements Verification Plans (RVP). Software was also developed to aid the engineers in tracking requirements and their flow down to lower-level subsystems and to assisted in drafting test plans.

LinQuest’s core strength is our experienced engineers applying proven SE&I processes. During this period, we brought in our engineering interns to work on lower-level products to support the team. This ensures the next generation of engineers develop and gain the proper mentoring by senior-level staff. This is one reason why LinQuest is a great place to work. It is not just another job; LinQuest strives to make engineering fun and allows our engineers/specialists to take on challenges and grow as individuals as well as learn to deliver performance excellence as a team. Our customers expect a product delivered on time and at top performance. On this program, the customer went out of their way to tell us, “You have earned our trust.”

Engineering and Design for Military Communication Systems

LinQuest staff was selected as the fourth quarter Contractor of the Quarter from the AEHF program.

“I have worked for LinQuest for more than 10 years and have seen how we excelled in our technical performance to meet and surpass customer expectations. This excellence in performance gave our customer the confidence to come to us when additional support was needed.”

— LinQuest Systems Engineer —

LinQuest provides solutions to the Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in system architecture, engineering, and design efforts for the development of current and future protected, wideband, and wireless military communication systems. This work has been ongoing for more than 10 years and includes the following tasks:

  • system performance analyses and simulations to guide system architecture;
  • requirements definition and performance assessment;
  • architectural design and system engineering support for waveform implementation;
  • development of software and firmware for prototypes; and
  • field installation and support for the system test and evaluation of emerging capabilities.

LinQuest has developed a modular, multi-usable field programmable gate arrays (FPGA) architecture to facilitate efficient integration of designs—all having a common look and feel. This approach has allowed team members to rapidly design and verify multiple FPGAs across multiple programs.

Commenting on LinQuest’s support, the customer stated, “Sincere thanks for providing outstanding support on the technical evaluation of the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite follow-on proposal. LinQuest’s technical expertise was a major factor in identifying $500M in cost savings.” Additionally, LinQuest staff was selected as the fourth quarter “Contractor of the Quarter” from the AEHF program.

Engineering Solutions for Space Flight and Ground Software

LinQuest provides technical and acquisition solutions to the SMC Remote Sensing Systems (SMC/RS) Directorate in the areas of space flight and ground software support. Our efforts are primarily directed towards the Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit (HEO) space vehicles and the ground system. Key contributions include resolving top program software risks, analyzing software qualification events, and ensuring software was thoroughly developed, tested, and verified prior to operational acceptance.

LinQuest supports SMC/RS by continuously monitoring the monthly fuel estimates of the Defense Support Program (DSP) on-orbit satellites to assist the SPO in planning on-orbit operations and forecasting satellites longevity. To facilitate this task, LinQuest developed a patented fuel estimation method, known as MLE-PVT (maximum-likelihood estimator, pressure, volume, and temperature). The methodology can be applied to other DoD and commercial satellites.

LinQuest personnel take that extra step to make sure everyone feels embraced as a part of the team. As stated by an Air Force Lieutenant working on this project with one of LinQuest’s Software Engineers, “...he has gone well above and beyond what I would expect for a typical welcome to a unit, as he has given me easily a dozen documents to read and review that pertain to all areas of the program (not just software). He is also the first to ask me if I have any questions or need help with getting settled in...”

LinQuest provides technical and acquisition solutions to SMC/RS for SBIRS GEO and HEO space vehicles.

“As a member of the team, I have directly influenced important decisions and my work has been seen at the highest levels of the SMC leadership team. I have also enjoyed seeing my SETA colleagues play major roles in launch activities, anomaly resolution, and highly technical analysis of software issues on new satellites in production. Our LinQuest team is at the heart of virtually every aspect of the Remote Sensing mission.”

— LinQuest Engineer —

Systems Engineering Solutions for Tactical Communications Network

LinQuest provides systems engineering and acquisition solutions to Project Manager Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (PM WIN-T), which is building and fielding the systems that provide the Army’s tactical communications network backbone. LinQuest has supported this customer for more than 20 years and has played an important role defining requirements and architecture and specifying interfaces. In addition, LinQuest has provided solutions to integration challenges and capability shortfalls, ensuring successful verification and operation of solutions across the WIN-T system-of-systems.

As part of our engineering support to PM WIN-T, LinQuest develops the Network-Centric Waveform planning Tool (NCWT) software. This software is used by the U.S. Army (SMDC/ARSTRAT) to plan and allocate wideband SATCOM resources for Army NCW networks. This software is a good characterization of LinQuest’s long-standing, successful partnership with PM WIN-T. The result of the vision and foresight by PM WIN-T leadership and timely execution by LinQuest provided a critical capability at low cost. The ARSTRAT resource planners have said that, without NCWT, they would have been unable to support the mission for a novel solution such as NCW across the scale and ops tempo demands of tactical units.

LinQuest ensured successful verification and operation of solutions across the WIN-T system-of-systems.

“The close partnership and team dynamic that we have with our WIN-T customer is very rewarding. They depend on us and value our support. It is exciting to help engineer near-term solutions for critical Army systems while also establishing a vision and laying the groundwork for upgrades and future systems. On this contract, we get to do both.”

— LinQuest Engineer —

SATCOM Systems Engineering

Under the TAOSS IDIQ contract, LinQuest provides SATCOM systems engineering solutions to the U.S. Army CERDEC Space and Terrestrial Communication Directorate (S&TCD). We apply our domain expertise in SATCOM systems engineering and understanding the Army’s Warfighter Information Network coupled with our proficiency in applying M&S tools to support our analysis and recommendations. Specifically, we have successfully applied this recipe in the evaluation of several different jammer types: noisy, full, and partial band; pulsed; blink; continuous wave; repeaters/followers; and tone for modeling SATCOM diversity architectures. We have also applied this to the development of CONOPS and analysis for usage of a low earth orbit (LEO) constellation of very small satellites (nanosats) within WIN-T, focusing on the evaluation of key performance areas such as orbital determination, Doppler, acquisition, and tracking.

LinQuest has had many innovations by applying our MBSE approach to develop ICDs, requirements in support of the Power Control Management Subsystem, and a unique composite controller model/design that can rapidly compensate for rain fades in a close loop satellite end-to-end communications link.

“Our team of systems engineers supporting JSEC SATCOM continues to receive the highest of praise from our customer. The JSEC management team has also received recognition on their performance, responsiveness, and innovations. I am personally proud to be surrounded by our team of experts that not only keeps their focus on their tasks, but also understand their contributions will enhance the Army Warfighting capabilities.”

— TAOSS Team Lead —