Latest News

Blue Canyon Technologies to Build Microsatellites for NASA’s HelioSwarm Mission 

By Rachel Jewett | March 31, 2022

A mid-level solar flare that peaked in October 2015, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Photo: NASA

NASA has selected Blue Canyon Technologies to build eight microsatellite buses for the agency’s HelioSwarm science mission to study solar wind and space plasma turbulence. Blue Canyon, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, has been a mission partner in the HelioSwarm mission since 2020. The award was announced Thursday. 

Blue Canyon will deliver the X-SAT Venus ESPA-class microsatellites in 2026 and 2027 ahead of the mission’s target launch in 2028. In the mission, one hub spacecraft and eight small satellites will move in coordinated orbits as a swarm using a highly elliptical, lunar resonant Earth-orbit. The mission will capture the first multiscale in-space measurements of fluctuations in the magnetic field and motions of solar wind turbulence. 

Blue Canyon will also integrate the science instrument payloads and perform spacecraft-level environmental testing.

“Blue Canyon’s trusted on-orbit product performance allows our customers to focus on payload efforts,” said Stephen Steg, CEO of Blue Canyon Technologies. “The synergy between our spacecraft and component product lines fuels our ability to tailor solutions for each mission’s unique requirements.”

NASA’s budget for the HelioSwarm mission is $250 million. Blue Canyon did not share the specific contract value. The mission’s principal investigator is Harlan Spence from the University of New Hampshire and NASA’s Ames Research Center is providing project management.