The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a Pit Boss contract to SEAKR Engineering to support the Blackjack Proliferated Low Earth Orbit Demonstration Program.

Under the contract, SEAKR will develop advanced processing for the Blackjack programme.

DARPA’s Blackjack project seeks to build a constellation of cost-effective, small, secure, and resilient military satellites leveraging commercial satellite technologies.

The Blackjack Pit Boss concept focuses on demonstrating an autonomous low Earth orbit constellation global persistent coverage without the need for human satellite operators and ground-based payload data processing.

SEAKR’s Pit Boss effort is supported by Applied Technology Associates (ATA), Advanced Solutions Inc (ASI), Microsoft, Kythera Space Solutions and NKrypt.

The company will leverage off-the-shelf electronics to develop an advanced on-board processor for the Pit Boss contract.

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It will adapt the electronics through design implementation to ensure reliability in the space environment.

In a statement, SEAKR said: “To deliver an extensible, scalable, and adaptable solution, SEAKR’s Pit Boss aims to deliver state of the art processing capability incorporating autonomous operations, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning techniques, and bridged terrestrial and on-orbit technologies.”

The firm stated that it will utilise four generations of architectural capability. The solution will deliver on-orbit reconfigurable processing capability.

Pit Boss is intended to facilitate the rapid dissemination of critical data to tactical users across the globe.

In February, DARPA sought proposals for building an autonomous constellation of satellites under the Blackjack programme.

The agency expects to launch 20 satellites to demonstrate the Pit Boss concept.