DARPA’s New Virtual Satellite Network

DARPA’s New Virtual Satellite Network

DARPA this week opened its giant wallet to spend over $38 million for the initial development of its advanced space technology program that ultimately aims to replace traditional “monolithic” spacecraft with clusters of wirelessly-interconnected spacecraft modules.

The program, called the Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange also known as the System F6, is intended to let the agency deploy individual pieces or what it calls “fractionated modules” of current all-in-one satellites. For example, each fractionated module would support a unique capability, such as command and control, data handling, guidance and navigation, payload. Modules could replicate the functions of other modules as well.Such modules can be physically connected once in orbit or remain nearby to each other in a loose formation, or cluster, harnessed together through a wireless network they create a virtual satellite.

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