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Telesat to develop two LEO buses for U.S. DARPA’s Blackjack

Luxembourg, 18 October 2020. – Telesat wins another Blackjack: the Canadian satellite company will develop two Low Earth Orbit (LEO) spacecraft buses for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Ottawa-based company said.

Telesat U.S. Services has been awarded a DARPA contract to develop and demonstrate in-orbit commercial LEO spacecraft buses for DARPA’s Blackjack program and will deliver two spacecraft in less than one year to showcase the in-orbit use of Optical Inter-Satellite Links for government requirements, Telesat said. The program award is valued at $18.3 million.

Telesat had closed an initial Blackjack contract for system engineering and interface definition in 2018.

“(A)dditional Telesat LEO spacecraft may be procured to fully populate the Blackjack constellation, which represents a total contract value of up to $175.6 million if all options are exercised.”

The Blackjack program is a demonstration of LEO satellites in hybrid commercial-government constellations offering highly resilient space systems, global persistence, low latency communications and rapid technology refresh, Telesat said.

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