Michigan Aerospace Group Launches R&D Project for 5G Space-enabled Communications for Advanced Mobility

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association in Sterling Heights states it has received the first in a series of investments that will allow Michigan to take a leadership role in developing 5G Space-Enabled Communications for Advanced Mobility, or SECAM, for commercial and government users. The investment amount was not disclosed.
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Through a series of investments, the Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association will help develop 5G Space-Enabled Communications for Advanced Mobility, or SECAM, for commercial and government users. Pictured is a U.S. satellite. // Photo courtesy of NASA

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association in Sterling Heights states it has received the first in a series of investments that will allow Michigan to take a leadership role in developing 5G Space-Enabled Communications for Advanced Mobility, or SECAM, for commercial and government users. The investment amount was not disclosed.

With MAMA as the lead of the public-private collaboration, the SECAM Research and Development Project would draw private, government, and academic partners to develop a secured space/terrestrial mesh 5G system that will incorporate existing terrestrial 5G technology. The 5G mesh system will utilize near-earth-orbit satellite 5G technology for ground, air, water, and space missions.

“MAMA is honored to take the lead in convoking the SECAM Research and Development Project,” says Gavin Brown, executive director of MAMA. “The future of connectivity is a national security and economic development priority for the U.S., and we feel Michigan is well-suited to convene this collaboration.

“With commercial industry leading the way, the SECAM Research and Development Project will run parallel proof-of-concept activities, pilot programs, and demonstrations to achieve deployment by the end of 2026. By collaborating with a diverse group of U.S. aerospace and defense companies, the project will allow for rapid response to the need for national and global 5G connectivity by enabling the speed-to-market capabilities of commercial industry.”

Tapping into Michigan’s rich history of manufacturing innovation, the SECAM Research and Development Project will convene partners from industry, government, and academia who would collaborate to share advancements in research and development for manufacturing, artificial intelligence, or AI, cybersecurity, advanced technology, and other applications.

Brown explains one of the industries benefiting most from the network will be the auto industry, which is headquartered in metro Detroit and has a rich history of innovation. Automakers remain focused on mobility options, including autonomous vehicles, which will require more low-earth-orbit, or LEO, satellites in the coming decades to meet increasing demand.

“We envision SECAM will give rise to a new technology industry that will propel the U.S. ahead of any international competitor,” Brown says. “With a rapid speed-to-market ecosystem, where all of the research and development is protocoled to develop a viable working 5G space-enhanced terrestrial broadband system, the U.S. can maintain and further its space, air, land, and sea superiority.

“Detroit and southeast Michigan are ideal to serve as the location for coordinating efforts with locations in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona, which are home to established space industries.”

MAMA’s SECAM Research and Development Project will benefit from its Michigan Launch Initiative, which continues its work to establish horizontal and vertical spaceports in Michigan, enabling the state to take a lead in LEO satellite launches.

Specifically, northern Michigan — north of the Earth’s 45th parallel — is perfectly situated for polar orbit launches and has ideal infrastructure for logistics and technical support, Brown says.

As part of its collaboration efforts, MAMA will convene the North American Space Summit Aug. 29-31 in Traverse City. More than 500 attendees from across the country and around the globe are expected to attend “LEO: The New Gold Rush,” which will feature sessions on SECAM, space supply chains, government applications, funding sources, and other topics. The summit will follow all safety protocols in place for COVID-19 at the time. For more information, visit TheNASS.org.

The Michigan Aerospace Manufacturers Association is a member-supported organization that serves the interests of Michigan’s aerospace and defense manufacturing firms with a single unified voice, promoting the state of Michigan’s aerospace and defense manufacturing community within the global industry. Visit michman.org for more information.

The Michigan Launch Initiative has made steady progress in recent months, and was most recently covered in DBusiness Daily News here.

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