Defense Satellite Communications System

October 11, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
DARPA’s Blackjack program wilDARPA’s Blackjack program will leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Concept graphic courtesy of DARPAl leverage commercial low Earth orbit solutions, says Paul “Rusty” Thomas, Blackjack program manager. Credit: Concept graphic courtesy of DARPA

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeing initial success from its Blackjack program, according to Paul “Rusty” Thomas, program manager. The research agency is developing a subset of a constellation, 20 low Earth orbit (LEO) globe-to-globe satellites, to demonstrate a new way of building out space systems.

“We are looking at how we might do space architecture differently,” said Thomas. “We want to limit the integration time, so we can actually get to the point where a payload might not even know what bus it is going to go on, and you can actually think of the payload as the mission.”