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Jeremy Palmer: DARPA Eyes Experimental Small Satellite Mission Launch Aboard India’s Rocket

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency plans to launch a mission for experimental small satellites, also known as satlets, aboard a rocket from India, Space News reported Monday.

The eXperiment for Cellular Integration Technologies mission seeks to demonstrate the capability to establish a satellite bus around a sensor and other payloads through the use of satlets.

Jeremy Palmer, program manager for DARPA’s tactical technology office, said Thursday at Milsatcom USA conference in Washington that the agency plans to launch the EXCITE mission on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle by the first half of fiscal 2018.

“We have 14 of these satlets aggregated together in a 155-kilogram secondary payload satellite intended for low-Earth orbit at an inclination of 98 degrees with an elliptical orbit of 450-kilometer perigee,” Palmer said.

Tech startup Novawurks has begun development work on the spacecraft through the use of its Hyper-Integrated Satlet platform, while Cubesat maker Pumpkin has started delivering “snap-on” solar wings for the satlets.

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