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Raytheon subsidiary showcases inter-satellite communication

9th June 2022 - 18:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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This was a demonstration not only of optical communications in space but also a closer look at some of the foundational building blocks needed for a networked space architecture. (Image: Raytheon)

Raytheon’s subsidiary, SEAKR Engineering, has demonstrated the ability for data transfer between two satellites in orbit.

SEAKR Engineering, a subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, announced a successful demonstration of optical inter-satellite links between two Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Mandrake 2 satellites.

During the first test, more than 280GB of data were transferred at a range of 11km during a period of more than 40min.

Under DARPA’s Blackjack project, two Mandrake 2 spacecraft were launched last year to demonstrate advanced laser communications.

The satellites, called Able and Baker, were outfitted with SA Phototronics optical links onboard an Astro Digital bus.

ASI provided the satellite software needed to operate the vehicles, while SEAKR, the prime contractor, led the system integration of both satellites.

Originally scheduled for a January 2021 launch, a pre-launch accident damaged both Able and Baker satellites. SAEKR was able to repair and rebuild the satellites and then deliver them for launch in less than six months.

These demonstrations are the foundation for DARPA’s Pitboss and future Battle Management Command Control and Communication systems.

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