DARPA Blackjack technology demonstration to pave the way to military satellite communications mesh network

July 9, 2020
DARPA wants to demonstrate the military utility of a large constellation of small satellites that connect over optical intersatellite links.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Later this year, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., is expected to launch a series of risk reduction payloads into orbit to help pave the way for an experimental program known as Project Blackjack. C4ISRnet reports. Continue reading original article

The Military & Aerospace Electronics take:

9 July 2020 -- With Blackjack, DARPA wants to demonstrate the military utility of a large constellation of small satellites operating in low-Earth orbit. These satellites will connect with each other on orbit over optical satellite links, forming a mesh network in space. That network will be able to deliver sensor data collected on orbit to terrestrial war fighters in near-real time.

While Blackjack won’t switch to a program of record, military officials have made it clear that Blackjack technologies will demonstrate a military-specific mesh network on orbit being built by the Space Development Agency.

DARPA has issued a flurry of contracts as the agency prepares to launch risk reduction satellites later this year and then it’s first Blackjack payloads in 2021.

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

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

Related: Space Development Agency asking for mesh network satellites for PNT data and tracking hypersonic weapons

John Keller, chief editor
Military & Aerospace Electronics

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