Greenbelt, Md.-based Emergent Space Technologies, Inc. said July 12 it has received a potentially $6.7 million contract to provide cluster flight guidance, navigation, and control algorithms and software for the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s System F6 fractionated spacecraft research effort.

The System F6 program aims to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of using a cluster of wirelessly interconnected modules to perform the functions of a single, larger satellite.

Under the terms of Emergent’s contract, which has a 6-month base period plus two 1-year options, the company will perform systems engineering, algorithm design, flight software development, integration, and verification and validation, including hardware-in-the-loop testing.

Emergent President George Davis said in a statement that the company’s Cluster Flight solution “will provide the program with innovative flight software for collaborative, semi-autonomous navigation, orbit maintenance, and collision avoidance.”

The F6 in System F6 stands for Future, Fast, Flexible, Fractionated, Free-Flying Spacecraft United by Information Exchange.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) aims to conduct an on-orbit demonstration in 2014-2015 of the key functional attributes of fractionated architectures.

DARPA awarded a $75 million contract to Dulles, Va.-based Orbital Sciences Corp. in December 2009 to develop the fractionated spacecraft concept in partnership with IBM and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.



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