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DARPA Deploys Laser Communications Demo Satellites for Blackjack Program

DARPA Deploys Laser Communications Demo Satellites for Blackjack Program - top government contractors - best government contracting event

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched two spacecraft under the Blackjack program in an effort to demonstrate advanced laser communications terminals.

DARPA said Wednesday the pair of Mandrake 2 satellites reached orbit in late June as part of the SpaceX Transporter 2 launch and are currently undergoing checkout and commissioning.

The agency considers the demonstration mission of the interoperable, low size, weight and power laser terminals as an early risk-reduction flight for the said initiative that is aimed at developing a high-speed low-Earth orbit network.

“Mandrake 2 has already successfully demonstrated a rapid satellite development timeline since the Blackjack program moved from contract award to delivery of space vehicles at the launch site in less than nine months,” said Stephen Forbes, Blackjack program manager.

SEAKR Engineering, Advanced Solutions Inc., Lockheed Martin and SpaceX are some of the companies that took part in recent Mandrake design and development efforts and launch mission.

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