Military Embedded Systems

Pony Express 2 tech demo satellites by Lockheed Martin ready for launch


February 16, 2024

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Image via Lockheed Martin

LITTLETON, Colorado. Lockheed Martin has cleared for launch the Pony Express 2 mission, aimed at demonstrating the enhancement of Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) from space, the company announced in a statement.

This self-funded technology demonstration involves a pair of 12U Terran Orbital Renegade-class space vehicles, each equipped with four Lockheed Martin payloads that include a tactical communications system, a Ka-band crosslink and mesh network, precision relative ranging and time synchronization, and a high-end CPU/processor, the statement reads. The intent of the mission is to demonstrate enhanced connectivity, autonomous capability, mission flexibility, agile operations, and AI-enabled proactive troubleshooting.

Pony Express 2 is designed to demonstrate NASA-standard delay-tolerant mesh networking, allowing warfighters to stay connected via data resiliently relayed through a satellite constellation, the company says.

The satellites are scheduled to launch on SpaceX’s Transporter-10 rideshare mission in March. Post-launch, Lockheed Martin plans to conduct a series of on-orbit demonstrations, after which Pony Express 2 will be available for government exercises later in the year, the statement adds.

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