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  • Laurence Russell

Blue Canyon Technologies expands Into GEO with its first CubeSat

Small satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, assisted in the deployment of Ascent, the company’s first CubeSat spacecraft bus launched to a geostationary, or GEO, orbit by the Air Force Research Laboratory as part of the US Space Force’s Test Program-3 mission.


Blue Canyon provided the 12U CubeSat bus, avionics, flight software, Guidance Navigation and Control actuators and sensors, batteries, solar panels, solar array drives, two propulsion systems, and RF communication hardware. BCT was on-site during commissioning and ensured the spacecraft was in a safe, stable power and thermal attitude before releasing operations to the lab to complete the mission objectives.


“In addition to being BCT’s first CubeSat flown at GEO, this is also the first demonstration of our Solar Array Drive Assemblies and the first application of our CubeSat components in the GEO radiation and charging environment,” said John Carvo, executive director of CubeSats, a business unit of BCT. “This is yet another example of our vertical integration and collaborative partnerships with our customers that enable BCT to expand the frontiers of science and defense.”


The Ascent mission is evaluating the performance of commercial-off-the-shelf technology and capabilities in the GEO space environment, only previously seen in LEO flight experiments. Ascent comprises several demonstrations that include flying two propulsion systems and the first GEO application of the Georgia Tech cold gas propulsion system to provide momentum management. BCT contacted the spacecraft on the first acquisition and continues to support on-orbit questions as needed.


At the company’s manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, Blue Canyon recently converted the available office space to house its full CubeSat product line. BCT has more than 20 CubeSats in production and offers standardized designs that enable rapid delivery. The company is comprised of four core business units – CubeSats, Microsats, Components, and Mission Operations, with each offering peak performance, low-cost, and integrated solutions delivered directly to the end-user.

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