This is an artist's rendering of a Blue Canyon Technologies satellite equipped with Viasat's Link 16 communications terminal. Credit: Blue Canyon Technologies

WASHINGTON — Blue Canyon Technologies won a $14.6 million contract to produce a small inspector satellite for operations beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit.

According to a Nov. 22 announcement, Blue Canyon was selected by the Air Force Research Laboratory to develop a satellite under AFRL’s Space Situational Awareness Micro-Satellite Bus program. The company has to deliver by February 2023 a small satellite bus that can operate and maneuver for up to three years in orbits beyond GEO and can support a broad range of payloads. 

Blue Canyon, based in Lafayette, Colorado, is a small satellite manufacturer. In December 2020 it was acquired by Raytheon Technologies.

The Space Situational Awareness Micro-Satellite Bus was a competitive award under a U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research program. The goal is to produce a small space situational awareness satellite system with significant orbital maneuverability so it can move across orbits. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...