ARLINGTON, Va. – In partnership with the U.S. Space Force and Space Development Agency, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Blackjack program is targeting flights to low-Earth orbit (LEO) later this year and 2021. DARPA reports. Continue reading original article
The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:
18 May 2020 -- Using a series of small risk reduction satellites, the program aims to demonstrate advanced technology for satellite constellation autonomy and space mesh networks.
Blackjack seeks to develop and validate critical elements of global high-speed autonomous networking in LEO, proving a capability that could provide the U.S. Department of Defense with connected, resilient, and persistent overhead coverage.
The upcoming demonstration flights will be ride shares, catching a ride to LEO on a launch with other missions. The first demonstration, Mandrake 1, is a cubesat that will carry supercomputer processing chips. Mandrake 2 is a pair of small satellites that will carry optical inter-satellite links for broadband data. These could form the basis of future optically meshed computer networks in LEO.
John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics