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Military Capabilities

DARPA proposes small launch challenge to demonstrate responsive launch

08 February 2018

Key Points

  • DARPA proposes a challenge competition to develop fast, responsive launch capability
  • The Pentagon wants to get away from dependence on fixed-range launch sites

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is planning a small launch challenge to push the space industry and the Pentagon to learn how to launch from anywhere with just a few days or weeks of notice.

DARPA Tactical Technology Office (TTO) Director Fred Kennedy said on 8 February that the agency wants to leverage a forecasted boom in small satellites, but that today’s method of launching from less than a handful of fixed government ranges will result in a bottleneck.

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