Small satellite manufacturer Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) announced today it has been selected by global communications company, Viasat Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), to join its team supporting the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles XVI pilot program to test the first-ever Link 16-capable LEO spacecraft. Under the agreement, BCT will design and manufacture a 12U small satellite bus. Viasat is the lead on the design and manufacture of the spacecraft’s payload. Launch of the spacecraft is expected in 2020.
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Link 16 is an encrypted radio frequency widely used by the U.S. military and NATO allies to share critical information. Link 16 terminals are deployed aboard aircraft, land vehicles and ships to facilitate the exchange of data and images in standard message formats. The pilot project will test the feasibility of using small satellites in low-Earth orbits to relay more and better information to units in the field.
“Blue Canyon Technologies is honored to support Viasat in this important pilot project,” said George Stafford, CEO and president of Blue Canyon Technologies. “To date, Link 16 technology has only been capable of line-of-sight communications. By demonstrating that Link 16 can operate in a space environment on small satellites, the U.S. military can gain beyond-line-of-sight tactical advantages on the battlefield and ultimately keep our troops safer.”
“Viasat is thrilled to have Blue Canyon Technologies supporting the XVI program,” said Ken Peterman, president, Government Systems, Viasat. “This Link 16-capable Low Earth Orbit spacecraft will address the Department of Defense’s urgent need for a fast-to-market, cost-effective, space-based Link 16 solution to maintain the technological edge needed in contested environments.”
The 12U spacecraft uses BCT’s heritage XB1 avionics to provide a state-of-the-art satellite platform that maximizes payload volume. The spacecraft includes ultra-high-performance pointing accuracy, a robust power system, command and data handling, RF communications, and dedicated payload interfaces. The spacecraft bus will be developed and tested at BCT’s Spacecraft Manufacturing Center in Colorado. Integration of the bus and payload will occur at Viasat’s Tempe, Arizona facility.
BCT is currently building more than 60 spacecraft for government, commercial and academic missions. The company has doubled in size over the past 12 months and plans to open its new 80,000-square-foot headquarters and production facility in 2020.
Blue Canyon Technologies, Inc., (BCT) a Colorado-based private company founded in 2008 to bring innovative, reliable and affordable solutions to space missions, is an experienced integrator of aerospace systems and developer of advanced aerospace products and technologies. BCT is a vertically integrated spacecraft manufacturer supporting nearly 40 unique missions with over 70 spacecraft. The company currently has more than 50 satellites in production and is developing a new 80,000-square-foot facility for high rate production.
BCT has supported missions for The U.S. Air Force, NASA, The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and many others and provided the Attitude Control Systems for the first interplanetary CubeSats which successfully traveled to Mars. The company has been recognized with awards including Inc Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, 2017 Colorado Companies to Watch, and the 2019 Colorado Biz Made in Colorado Emerging Manufacturer Winner.
For the latest news on Blue Canyon Technologies and for other company information, please visit www.bluecanyontech.com.
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea. To learn more about Viasat, visit: www.viasat.com, go to Viasat’s Corporate Blog, or follow the Company on social media at: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.