Satellite comms contracts under Blackjack program awarded by DARPA
ARLINGTON, Va. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded contracts worth a combined $30.4 million to build payloads and platforms for DARPA’s Blackjack program, a project that aims toprove the military utility of low-Earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of low-cost satellites.
Blue Canyon Technology (Boulder, Colorado) won a $14.1 million contract to build satellite platforms for the Blackjack program and will be required to deliver an undisclosed number of satellite buses by June 2021. For its part, SA Photonics (Los Gatos, California) received a $16.3 million award to construct payloads and optical communications hardware to support the demonstration effort.
According to information from DARPA, the agency seeks to prototype and make plug-and-play satellites for which new payloads can be added without having to redesign the bus. Such an approach, DARPA states, will enable the U.S. military to speed up production and lower cost compared to traditional acquisitions of custom-built spacecraft.