Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) has been awarded a $5.8 million contract by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to define and manage the interfaces of satellite integration with the agency’s Blackjack program.
Blackjack intends to develop a high-speed global network comprised of 20 satellites that will operate in LEO to provide autonomous, highly connected, resilient and persistent coverage for payloads of all genres and missions for the Department of Defense (DoD). The expectations are that a demo constellation could be launched between 2021 and 2022, if the building of the project and subsequent testing go as planned.
This contract will entail Lockheed Martin getting involved with the definition of, and the interface for, DARPA’s Blackjack bus, the payload as well as the space-based command and data processor that is called Pit Boss. An important aim of this project is reduce the cost of custom building spacecraft by developing satellites that can “plug-and-play” payloads without requiring bus redesign.