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May 7, 2021

Northrop Grumman to supply navigation payloads for DARPA’s Blackjack satellites

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

DARPA awarded Northrop Grumman a $13.3 million contract to provide positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) payloads for the Blackjack program.


WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded Northrop Grumman a $13.3 million contract to provide positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) payloads for the Blackjack program.

Blackjack is a DARPA project to demonstrate the military utility of small satellites in low Earth orbit to provide communications, missile warning and PNT. Northrop Grumman’s contract was awarded April 28, according to sam.gov.

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May 4, 2021

SpaceX’s Star Wars Day launch puts 60 Starlink satellites in orbit, lands rocket

Posted by in categories: internet, satellites

SpaceX launched its own version of the “fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy,” the Falcon 9, on Star Wars Day (aka “May the Fourth”).

May 1, 2021

Kleos Space develops tool for in-space manufacturing of large structures

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites

SAN FRANCISCO — Kleos Space is conducting a six-month test of technology for in-space manufacturing of large 3D carbon fiber structures that could be used to construct solar arrays, star shades and interferometry antennas.

The company with operations in Luxembourg, the United States and United Kingdom is best known for radio frequency reconnaissance satellites. In the background, however, Kleos has been designing and developing in-space manufacturing technology called Futrism to robotically produce a carbon-fiber I-beam with embedded fiber-optic cables that is more than 100 meters long.

“It’s something that we have linked to our roadmap for RF, because it’s something that could deploy very large antennas for RF reconnaissance,” Kleos CEO Andy Bowyer told SpaceNews. “However, it’s useful for a whole range of other applications as well that we are very keen to work with partners on. We firmly believe that manufacturing in space is the future.”

Apr 27, 2021

Deepfake satellite imagery poses a not-so-distant threat, warn geographers

Posted by in categories: military, robotics/AI, satellites

Deepfakes from above.


Deepfakes are usually associated with imagery of AI-generated people, but what about fake satellite imagery? Geographers say such deepfakes could be used to spread misinformation and even mislead the military.

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Apr 24, 2021

New space radar in Costa Rica can track even tiny orbital debris

Posted by in categories: futurism, satellites

It can track objects the size of a golf ball traveling at up 30000 kilometers per hour in LEO.


There’s a new giant space radar in Costa Rica that can track orbital debris as small as two centimeters. It was built by LeoLabs, a company that provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in Low Earth Orbit, which has declared the site fully operational less than a year after breaking ground. LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley said it’s the “most advanced commercial space radar of its kind” — one that’s capable of tracking objects the size of a golf ball traveling at up 30000 kilometers per hour.

The radar can keep an eye on both active satellites and space junk, which make up the vast majority of man-made objects found in LEO. They’re also the risks LeoLabs’ customers — made up of satellite operators, defense, space and regulatory agencies, insurance and scientific institutions — want to keep tabs on.

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Apr 23, 2021

Lockheed Martin wins $27 million contract modification for integration of DARPA’s Blackjack satellites

Posted by in categories: military, satellites

DARPA announced it has increased Lockheed Martin’s contract for satellite integration work for the Blackjack program by $27.3 million.


WASHINGTON — The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency increased Lockheed Martin’s contract for satellite integration work for the Blackjack program by $27.3 million, the agency announced April 22.

DARPA a year ago selected Lockheed Martin as the satellite integrator for Blackjack, a project to demonstrate a network of small satellites in low Earth orbit for military communications, missile warning and navigation.

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Apr 18, 2021

Space Development Agency could select three manufacturers to produce its next batch of satellites

Posted by in categories: business, military, satellites

The Space Development Agency is considering buying its next 150 satellites from three different vendors.


WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency is considering buying its next 150 satellites from three different vendors, but that could change after the agency evaluates companies’ bids, SDA director Derek Tournear said April 14.

Speaking at the Washington Space Business Roundtable, Tournear said a request for proposals will be issued in August for the agency’s Transport Layer Tranche 1 — a network of hundreds of communications satellites in low Earth orbit projected to start launching in late 2024.

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Apr 14, 2021

A Northrop Grumman robot successfully docked to a satellite to extend its life

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites

Going forward, Northrop Grumman projects that starting in 2025 they will begin refueling satellites in orbit and removing orbital debris from nearby “high value” satellites, Anderson said.


Satellites could live longer lives thanks to new technology being tested by Northrop Grumman.

On Monday (April 12), Northrop Grumman Corporation and SpaceLogistics LLC (a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman) announced that their satellite servicing spacecraft, called Mission Extension Vehicle 2 (MEV-2), successfully docked to the commercial communications satellite Intelsat 10–02 (IS-10–02).

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Apr 12, 2021

Northrop Grumman robotic MEV-2 spacecraft, in a first, catches active Intelsat satellite

Posted by in categories: business, robotics/AI, satellites

Two aerospace firms accomplished an industry first on Monday, as a small Northrop Grumman spacecraft docked successfully with an active Intelsat satellite to provide service and extend its life.

Intelsat’s IS-10–02 satellite is nearly 18 years old, and operating well past its expected lifespan, but the Northrop Grumman-built spacecraft called MEV-2 will add another five years of life to IS-10–02, essentially re-fueling the satellite and giving it a new engine for control.

The companies hit a milestone in the growing business of servicing satellites while in space.

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Apr 11, 2021

Diamond-Based Quantum Accelerator Puts Qubits in a Server Rack

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, robotics/AI, satellites

Diamond-Based Quantum Accelerator Puts #Qubits in a Server Rack.

The startup Quantum Brilliance recently announced that they have developed a market-ready, diam… See More.


Its makers envision this device growing to 50+ qubits and fitting aboard satellites, autonomous vehicles.

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