Military Embedded Systems

Satellite payloads for DARPA Blackjack program delivered and tested


September 08, 2022

Lisa Daigle

Assistant Managing Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Photo: Raytheon Intelligence & Space

LAFAYETTE, Colo. Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) and SEAKR Engineering (wholly owned subsidiaries of Raytheon Technologies) announced that they have delivered one Saturn-class microsatellite bus and completed acceptance testing of the first two of twelve "Pit Boss" battle-management systems for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Blackjack satellite program.  

According to the companies' announcement, BCT is providing a total of ten Saturn-class buses total; the remaining nine buses are expected to ship in late 2022. Each BCT bus includes advanced electric propulsion, a robust power system, command and data handling, radio-frequency communications, and dedicated payload interfaces that could host several different U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) payloads. 

The Blackjack mission is intended to develop and demonstrate critical elements of a global high-speed network in low-Earth orbit (LEO) that satisfy DoD performance and payload requirements at a much lower cost, with shorter design cycles, and with easier and more frequent technology upgrades. 

Dave Anderson, SEAKR’s Vice President, Advanced Product Development and CTO, says that Pit Boss satisfies many needs for the Blackjack constellation by providing on-orbit mission autonomy, a space platform for DevSecOps Docker applications, network routing of optical satellite links, and high-speed link encryption. 

Featured Companies

SEAKR Engineering

6221 S. Racine Circle
Centennial, CO 80111

Raytheon Company

870 Winter Street
Waltham, MA 02451

U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)

1400 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-1400

U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

675 North Randolph Street
Arlington, VA 22203-2114