DARPA Welcoming Industry To Weigh ‘Radically New’ Satellite Design
By Michael Sirak
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) this week will start the process of moving its nascent F6 satellite program forward by hosting an unclassified industry day tomorrow, and then a classified forum for potential offerors on Wednesday.
F6 stands for Future Fast, Flexible, Free-Flying, Fractionated Spacecraft united by Information eXchange.
The program is designed to assess the feasibility and benefits of launching future spacecraft in modules on smaller sized rockets. Once on orbit, these fractionated components could be joined, or remain physically disconnected, but operate as a virtual satellite in a cluster of wirelessly linked modules that function as a whole.
There also is the potential for a hybrid configuration with a mix of physically connected and disconnected elements, the agency says.
DARPA plans an on-orbit demonstration of the concept by early next decade. First launch is planned “within four years of program start,” agency spokeswoman Jan Walker said.
The unclassified industry day tomorrow will take place at Booz Allen Hamilton, 3811 Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Va. Its purpose is to provide information on the F6 program and provide a forum for exchange with prospective offerors. The classified industry forum Wednesday is at the National Security Space Office, 11242 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Va.