DARPA Blackjack program focuses on risk reduction flights and simulations to prepare for full demonstration

May 18, 2020
Blackjack also targets a risk reduction payload called Wildcard, a software-defined radio that will experiment with links from LEO to tactical radios.

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.

Related: Space Development Agency to issue solicitation on May 1 to develop mesh network of 20 space satellites

Related: SEAKR pushing-on with military research project to create space networking avionics for small satellites

Related: Lockheed Martin conducts experiments using satellites for space-based mesh network cloud computing

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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