Airbus to Develop Satellite Bus for DARPA
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) awarded a contract to Airbus Defense and Space to develop a satellite bus in support of the Blackjack program. OneWeb Satellites is also a strategic joint venture partner of Airbus.
DARPA described the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intending to show the military utility of global Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight, and cost. DARPA wants to buy commercial satellite buses and pair them with military sensors and payloads. The bus drives each satellite by generating power, controlling attitude, providing propulsion, transmitting spacecraft telemetry, and providing general payload accommodation including mounting locations for the military sensors.
“Airbus has previously co-invested hundreds of millions of dollars in high-rate manufacturing technology and supply chain logistics to build large constellations of small satellites,” said Airbus Defense and Space U.S. Space Programs Director Tim Deaver. “Airbus is committed to growing manufacturing capability in the US and our government customers can leverage this commercial capability to develop low-earth orbit constellations to complement large existing systems.”