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Leading small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, has announced it will develop an additional six satellites for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Blackjack program under a Phase 3 contract.
"We’re demonstrating an economy of scale previously unheard of for national security space assets, and we’re proving it can be done on a rapid schedule," said George Stafford, co-founder and CEO of Blue Canyon Technologies. "Blackjack will deliver persistent coverage in low Earth orbit that’s resilient by numbers.”
By incorporating commercial sector advances, including designs used for LEO broadband internet service, Blackjack will demonstrate that a constellation of LEO satellites can meet Department of Defense performance and payload requirements at a significantly lower cost, with shorter design cycles and with easier and more frequent technology upgrades.
Designed specifically for LEO missions, BCT will use the final design of its multi-mission X-SAT bus to begin procurement for the additional six satellites. The customized bus includes state-of-the-art electric propulsion, a robust power system, command and data handling, radio frequency communications and dedicated payload interfaces capable of hosting different DoD payloads.
In late 2020, BCT and DARPA completed the bus’s Critical Design Review at BCT’s Satellite Constellation Factory in Lafayette, Colorado. BCT is currently building the first four satellites to be delivered by the close of 2021. To support DARPA’s demonstration schedule, the company will deliver the additional six satellites by the close of 2022.