SEAKR Engineering successfully demonstrated inter-optical connectivity between the two DARPA Mandrake 2 satellites

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SEAKR Engineering successfully demonstrated inter-optical connectivity between the two DARPA Mandrake 2 satellites

Under DARPA’s Blackjack project, two Mandrake 2 spacecraft — dubbed Able and Baker — were launched in 2021 to demonstrate advanced laser communications. The satellites carried optical links from SA Photonics onboard an Astro Digital Bus; ASI provided the satellite software needed to operate the vehicles with SEAKR acting as the prime contractor to lead the system integration of both satellites.

Story Highlights

  • The demonstration, according to Jeff Schrader, president of SEAKR Engineering and Blue Canyon Technologies, was “a closer look at some of the core building elements required for a networked space architecture.”

  • The project was originally scheduled for launch in January 2021, but a prelaunch incident damaged both the Able and Baker satellites. SEAKR repaired and rebuilt the satellites, delivering them for launch in under six months.