Telesat won a $18.3 million DARPA contract to produce two satellite buses for the Blackjack low-Earth orbit constellation.
Orbion is a four-year-old startup in Houghton, Michigan, that specializes in Hall-effect plasma thrusters for small satellites.
Coleman is a member of the Defense Science Board and has held several senior posts in the private sector and academia.
Forbes has been Blackjack’s deputy program manager since 2018.
DARPA acting director Highnam said the agency sees no need to demonstrate launch capabilities that are now available from commercial providers.
DARPA's Pit Boss experiment, dubbed Sagittarius A*, is projected to launch in early 2021.
If DARPA exercises all options, the contract awarded to Blue Canyon Technologies has a potential value of $99.4 million.
The contract awarded to Raytheon is for Overhead Persistent Infrared sensor payloads.
Blue Canyon received a contract for satellite buses. SA Photonics' contract is for optical communications terminals.
The Space Development Agency says optical inter-satellite links are "one of the most critical technologies to be demonstrated."
Three payloads will fly to low Earth orbit in late 2020 and early 2021 to start building an optically meshed network.
Lockheed Martin will integrate satellite buses and payloads with data processors.
Under the agreement, DARPA will provide the robotics payload for a Mission Robotic Vehicle.
With just a week before the first scheduled launch in DARPA’s responsive launch competition, the agency is tweaking the rules to allow the sole remaining company to perform both launches from the same spaceport.