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Airbus and OneWeb Awarded Blackjack Contract

Airbus PR, with some big news for this interesting DARPA program that I’ve been keeping an eye on:

Airbus Defense and Space Inc. has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a satellite bus in support of the Blackjack program.

DARPA describes the Blackjack program as an architecture demonstration intending to show the military utility of global low-earth orbit constellations and mesh networks of lower size, weight and cost. DARPA wants to buy commercial satellite buses and pair them with military sensors and payloads.

This contract positions Airbus Defense and Space, Inc., of Herndon, Va., and its strategic joint venture partner, OneWeb Satellites, of Exploration Park, Fl., as the ideal service providers for Blackjack.

In the last few years, we’ve seen a handful of small satellite production lines open up. Those production lines have mostly been for internal programs, but at least a few have said they want to sell buses, as well. This is a big step in that direction for Airbus and OneWeb.