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DIU Partners With 3 Companies to Develop Orbital Logistics Capabilities

DIU Partners With 3 Companies to Develop Orbital Logistics Capabilities
Industry partnership

Aerospace company Blue Origin is finalizing the development of the Dark-Sky-1 mission system, whose purpose is to demonstrate the mission operation and flight system capabilities of a heavy utility multi-orbit logistics vehicle, which the Defense Innovation Unit envisions as being capable of hosting one or more mechanically-coupled payloads or spacecraft with a mass of more than 500 kilograms.

The work is being carried out under a contract between Blue Origin and the DIU, which said Wednesday that it had also been working with two other companies — Space Logistics and SpaceBilt — to achieve logistics capabilities, like Dark-Sky-1, that would provide low-cost access to geostationary orbit and those beyond low Earth orbit.

Space Logistics, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman providing in-space servicing, is working to provide in-space refueling technologies. One of those technologies, the Passive Refueling Module, is set to fly on an operational mission under a contract between Northrop and the Space Systems Command.

A contract, funded by the SSC, is also in place between the DIU and Space Logistics for the PRM to be integrated into and flown on the company’s Mission Robotics Vehicle.

For its part, SpaceBilt — formerly Skycorp — is under a contract to validate its in-space assembly and manufacturing capability for its m-OLV product. The company’s first m-OLV is expected to launch by the fourth quarter of 2026.

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Written by Jerry Petersen

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