Modular Space: DARPA’s F6 Program

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System F6 concept(click to view full) Satellites are currently big, expensive to build and launch, vulnerable, impossible in practice to upgrade on-orbit, difficult to replace – and critical to military effectiveness. That’s a really bad combination. Now add program risk and cost inflation driven by those issues, as the military tries to launch the most advanced technologies it can, in a uniquely ‘no fail’ environment. DARPA’s System F6 program aims at nothing less than a revolution in satellite technology, aimed at removing those constraints. If successful, it will develop and demonstrate the basic building blocks of a totally new space architecture, in which traditional integrated satellites are replaced by clusters of smaller, cheaper, wirelessly-interconnected space modules that form a “virtual” satellite. * Fractionated Space: The F6 Program [updated] * Contracts and Key Events [updated] * Additional Readings [updated] Fractionated Space: The F6 Program System F6 modules(click to view larger) The F6 program rides on a number of trends, including the rapidly changing face of computing, and a steady rise in mini and micro-satellites. System F6 will partition the tasks performed by a large satellite (power, receivers, control modules, etc.) and assign each task to a dedicated micro-satellite. By working together […]

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