Telecommunications Systems joined the team about two years ago and is the prime contractor.
Though team officials have conducted environmental and functional testing, they can go no further without a government sponsor to shepherd the systems through the National Security Agency's certification process, which could take roughly a year, says Vice Adm. (ret.) Lyle Bein, former Space Command chief and a consultant who has worked with Northrop.
Certification would cost roughly $2 million, though the figure would depend on the final operational concept to be tested by the government, according to John Miyamoto, vice president of advanced programs for Lockheed Martin Military Space.
The team is offering the concept to the government, but at this point, the U.S. might not be able to afford it. And even if it can, it is unclear whether the Pentagon would be required to conduct a competition for this capability.