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Blackjack one step closer to space

(19 June 2020 - Raytheon Intelligence and Space) Raytheon Intelligence & Space will build two prototype sensor payloads for DARPA’s Blackjack program, under a $37M contract.

Blackjack is a low Earth orbit satellite constellation program that aims to develop and demonstrate the critical elements for persistent global coverage against a range of advanced threats. It seeks to track multiple threats simultaneously for faster and earlier warning for national security.

“Constellations offer built-in resiliency – strength in numbers,” said Wallis Laughrey, Space & C2 Systems lead for Raytheon Intelligence & Space. “The entire network of satellites can continue to operate uninterrupted, even if one drops off.”

RI&S is reducing integration timelines for rapid deployment, having completed Blackjack’s preliminary design review in October 2019. During preliminary design review, RI&S engaged with major subcontractors to confirm costs and ensure the team would be ready to go to production. The company is leveraging its advanced manufacturing capabilities, fast-production and commercial space programs to deliver the two sensors.

“Blackjack is innovative in its simplicity,” said Laughrey. “We’ve incorporated mature tech like advanced algorithms and optics that allow us to go fast, but from day one, our primary design driver was manufacturing for cost.”

RI&S’ Blackjack production will support the team for the constellation’s autonomous mission management system, Pit Boss. Pit Boss interconnects all of the data from the Blackjack satellite constellation, acting as the collection and processing hub to deliver data to the right person at the right time.

The RI&S contract goes through critical design review and support to the systems integrator for integration with Pit Boss and the space vehicle. It also includes launch campaign support and the on-orbit demonstration. Following CDR in November 2020, DARPA has the option to order an additional eight or 18 sensor payloads.

About Raytheon Intelligence & Space

Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivers the disruptive technologies our customers need to succeed in any domain, against any challenge. A developer of advanced sensors, training, and cyber and software solutions, Raytheon Intelligence & Space provides a decisive advantage to civil, military and commercial customers in more than 40 countries around the world. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the business generated $14 billion in pro forma annual revenue in 2019 and has 37,500 employees worldwide. Raytheon Intelligence & Space is one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies Corporation.