SEAKR Engineering and Scientific Systems Company Inc. have begun to prepare for risk reduction demonstration flights under a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program that explores potential satellite technology advancements in low-Earth orbit.
The two companies aim to demonstrate components of the Pit Boss autonomous mission management system Raytheon Technologies is co-developing for DARPA's planned Blackjack satellite constellation, SSCI said Tuesday.
SSCI and SEAKR plan to conduct three flight tests via rideshare missions later this year before a couple of satellites lift off in 2021.
The first two demonstrations, dubbed Mandrake, will aim to verify the performance of computing, ground software, constellation autonomy, processing and intersatellite link systems needed for Blackjack and Pit Boss to facilitate the constellation's autonomous enterprise operations.
Mandrake I will focus on Pit Boss hardware and Mandrake II will test laser-based, inter-satellite communications in collaboration with the Space Development Agency.
The third test, nicknamed Sagittarius-A, will showcase a battle management command, control and communications system in orbit and apply technologies from Raytheon BBN, Emergent Space Technologies, LeafLabs, Kitware, Innoflight, Orbit Logic and HawkEye360.
The Blackjack program's key objectives are to develop payload and software for autonomous orbital operations, implement advanced manufacturing approaches for military spacecraft bus and demonstrate LEO payloads designed to support national security space assets.