DARPA posts solicitation for Blackjack satellite integration
On May 29, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency posted a solicitation for Blackjack satellite integration. Abstracts are due by 4:00 p.m. Eastern on June 11. Questions are due by 2:00 p.m. Eastern on June 14. Proposals are due by 2:00 p.m. Eastern on July 26.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is soliciting innovative proposals for Blackjack Satellite Integration. Under the Blackjack program, DARPA is contemplating a broad range of commercial satellite buses and military payloads and desires an approach that supports pairing any of the Blackjack commodity buses with any Blackjack payload, as late as possible in the design process. Information on representative buses, payloads, and Pit Boss is available in the addendum. Proposed research should investigate innovative approaches that enable revolutionary advances in the rapid integration of Department of Defense (DoD) payloads with commodity satellite buses. Specifically excluded would be any research that results in evolutionary improvements to the existing state of practice of small quantities of high-value spacecraft.
DARPA expects the Blackjack architecture to be extensible, easily integrating multiple types of commoditized satellite buses with a wide range of militarily relevant payloads supporting a variety of potential missions (e.g., detection, characterization, and tracking of advanced missile threats; alternate, high-accuracy positioning, navigation, and timing; and spacebased surface moving target indication). Each pairing of a specific bus and one or more payloads (e.g., an infrared camera and its host satellite) will define a node in a particular functional constellation layer (see functional layer definition in Program Lexicon). Incorporating different pairings of a bus and one or more payloads, other functional layers may be rapidly deployed and integrated without modifying the architecture. DARPA envisions increasing the number of satellites in a given functional layer from a demonstration level (e.g., 20 nodes, sufficient to provide extended coverage over a geographic region for several hours) to a fully-capable constellation of hundreds of nodes providing constant custody of points of interest worldwide. Finally, Blackjack will leverage open architecture standards and system controls permitting easy insertion of third-party software and hardware elements, including space-based payloads and hosted applications, communications equipment, and surface-based user devices and software. Satellite Integration performers will be expected to provide the flexibility to enable iterative development of Blackjack elements by all developers.
The Blackjack demonstration program will investigate the incorporation of multiple functional layers and payload phenomenologies into a unified data collection and distribution architecture. These layers are expected to include overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensors, Position, Navigation, and Timing (PNT) payloads for Global Positioning System (GPS) augmentation, radio frequency (RF) and optical communications, including direct connectivity with tactical users from low earth orbit (LEO), multiple tactical intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance payloads, and all-weather, multi-domain asset geolocation, identification, characterization, and tracking.
Full information is available here.