DARPA awarded Raytheon subsidiary BBN Technologies a $2.4 million contract to design and integrate an information architecture for wireless, small module satellites as part of the System F6 program. Under System F6, DARPA researchers seek to break the paradigm of designing large—and expensive—monolithic satellites by creating a “virtual satellite” that is made up of small, affordable modules that are physically separated in a cluster on orbit, but function seamlessly as a whole via a wireless network. That’s where BBN comes in. “With this contract award, our goal is nothing short of assuring that DARPA gets a superior networking capability that enables F6’s many advantages over a single, large satellite,” said Craig Partridge, BBN principal investigator, in the company’s release.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.