Blue Canyon, SEAKR deliver DARPA Blackjack payloads

Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies, LLC, and SEAKR Engineering, LLC, wholly owned subsidiaries of Waltham, MA-based Raytheon Technologies, announced on September 7 they have delivered one Saturn-class microsat bus and completed acceptance testing of the first two of twelve Pit Boss Battle Management Command, Control and Communication payloads for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Blackjack program.

Blue Canyon is providing ten Saturn-class buses total, with the remaining nine expected to ship later in the year. The buses are BCT’s first flight units utilizing its new Kyber Electrical Power System and Hyperion Solar Arrays. Each bus includes advanced electric propulsion, a robust power system, command and data handling, radio frequency communications and dedicated payload interfaces capable of hosting several different Department of Defense payloads.

“This is a momentous milestone for BCT’s Saturn microsatellite product line with the first-ever Saturn bus flight unit to achieve environmental testing,” said Jeff Schrader, president of Blue Canyon Technologies and SEAKR Engineering. “The accomplishment of qualifying and shipping this unit was no easy feat with teams working around the clock to run test after test to reduce risk and ensure success in the overall mission. It was a collaborative effort with Raytheon Intelligence & Space, BCT and SEAKR Engineering that further signifies confidence in our capabilities as an end-to-end spacecraft provider.”

SEAKR Engineering has completed acceptance testing of the first two flight units of the twelve Pit Boss Battle Management Command, Control and Communication payloads for the DARPA Blackjack constellation. These units have shipped for space vehicle Assembly, Integration and Test.

“Pit Boss plays many critical roles for the Blackjack constellation by providing on-orbit mission autonomy, a space platform for DevSecOps Docker applications, network routing of optical satellite links, and high speed link encryption,” said Dave Anderson, SEAKR’s Vice President, Advanced Product Development and CTO.  “The Pit Boss BMC3 has enough processing resources with margin to perform all these functionalities simultaneously.”

The Blackjack mission will develop and demonstrate critical elements of a global high-speed network in low-Earth orbit or LEO. The goal of the Blackjack program is to show that a constellation of LEO satellites meets U.S. Department of Defense performance and payload requirements, at a significantly lower cost, with shorter design cycles and with easier and more frequent technology upgrades. The Blackjack program aims to establish an economy of scale not previously available with current National Security space assets, which are large, costly and would take years to replace if degraded or destroyed.

Blue Canyon built and delivered Blackjack’s ground test unit to Lockheed Martin in early May. The remaining customized Saturn-class buses are currently in production at BCT’s microsat factory in Lafayette, Colorado.

Source: Raytheon Technologies

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