Thursday, February 28, 2008

Orbital wins contract for innovative DARPA satellites

Orbital Sciences Corp has won a contract from DARPA for the F6 program. (F6 is one of the more torturous DoD acronyms, standing (really) for Future Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft united by Information eXchange.)
The intent of the demonstration program is to build wirelessly connected small satellites which together will do the work of a single large satellite. Something like this was tried a few years ago by the Air Force Research Laboratory with its TechSat-21 system, but that program overreached on new technology and was killed due amid descoping, schedule slips, and rising costs. Hopefully F6 will have a better ending. Orbital has a good track record for delivering on innovative small spacecraft, and I wish them luck.

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