The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has awarded a contract to Maxar Technologies’ subsidiary Radiant Solutions to support small optical satellite constellations.

Under the $2m contract, the company will lead a team for the design, development and demonstration of a next-generation optical satellite telescope system for agile small satellite constellations.

The project will be carried out by Radiant Solutions in partnership with Maxar Technologies’ spacecraft manufacturing business, SSL.

The two companies will combine their capabilities in order to meet the demand of the US Defense and Intelligence agency for small form-factor satellites.

Radiant Solutions president Tony Frazier said: “Radiant Solutions is proud to play a major role in the development of disruptive, next-generation technologies that will transform satellite imaging missions and enhance global mapping and intelligence at scale.

“Radiant Solutions will provide DARPA with geospatial mission engineering expertise, which is supported and enhanced by SSL’s experience in powerful spacecraft systems.”

“With our team’s extensive experience in highly specialised geospatial systems, we’re uniquely positioned to accelerate the evolution of the Department of Defense’s (DoD) most critical imaging infrastructure.”

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Through the agreement, Radiant Solutions will provide DARPA with geospatial mission engineering expertise, which is supported and enhanced by SSL’s experience in delivering powerful spacecraft systems.

The collaborative effort will enable national security customers to see, understand and anticipate activity across the planet in support of global mapping and intelligence missions.

SSL Government Systems president Richard White said: “SSL brings unmatched integrated spacecraft system capabilities to deliver effective and affordable end-to-end solutions that build a better world and support our nation’s leadership in space.

“We’re delighted to be working closely with our colleagues at Maxar Technologies to solve problems from space.”

The lightweight design and large field-of-view of the optical telescope system are expected to support the production of more capable small satellites.