It's going to be a big job for a small satellite manufacturer, but Blue Canyon Technologies is ready for the job.
Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT) will provide a role in supporting MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Agile MicroSatellite (AMS) mission. BCT will design, manufacture and operate a 6U cubesat the mission, which will be critical in demonstrating the potential low-altitude performance of cubesats. Funded by the U.S. Air Force, launch is planned for late 2021.
Cubesats are smaller, quicker to build and launch, and less expensive than conventional satellites. This first-of-its-kind mission will demonstrate that a cubesat can reliably operate in VLEO (Very Low Earth Orbit).
AMS will initially launch to an altitude of 500 kilometers and will use electric propulsion to maneuver to the lowest altitude possible. By demonstrating cubesat performance at such low altitudes, the U.S. Air Force, and others will be able to leverage the technology to conduct important new Earth Observation (EO) and other civil and military space missions.
MIT Lincoln Laboratory conducts research and technology development of advanced satellite systems that are used to monitoring the activity of objects in space and to perform Earth remote sensing.
This mission supports the organization’s goal to rapidly develop and field-test innovative systems used by the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, and other U.S. government agencies to gather data for the persistent surveillance of wide areas in space and on the earth.
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.
Andrew Stimac, Principal Investigator at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, said that Blue Canyon Technologies is a valuable partner to MIT as they continue to find new, efficient and reliable ways to develop and test solutions to ensure the United States is leading the globe in space research and aerospace technology.
George Stafford, Founder and CEO of Blue Canyon Technologies, added that cubesats will continue to play a crucial part in refining the framework for conducting rapid space experiments, and they’re proud to partner with MIT Lincoln Lab on this mission. With this mission, they can continue to demonstrate the viability of small satellites in LEO, further highlighting the potential of cubesats as a versatile next-generation technology, suitable for a broad range of applications.