Redwire Awarded DARPA Prime Contract for SabreSat Spacecraft Very Low-Earth Orbit Demonstration

Redwire will Leverage its SabreSat VLEO Spacecraft Design for DARPA’s Otter Program

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW), a leader in space infrastructure for the next generation space economy, announced today that it has been awarded a contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to be the prime mission integrator for the development of a revolutionary air-breathing satellite that will demonstrate the use of novel electric propulsion systems in very low-Earth orbit (VLEO) using Redwire’s SabreSat VLEO platform. The program leverages Redwire’s worldwide leadership in developing and providing VLEO capabilities.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Redwire is leveraging its SabreSat VLEO platform for DARPA's Otter program. Image: Redwire

Redwire is leveraging its SabreSat VLEO platform for DARPA's Otter program. Image: Redwire

The strategic significance of VLEO is growing – especially for national security missions. While low-Earth (LEO) and geosynchronous (GEO) orbits are becoming increasingly congested and contested, spacecraft in VLEO operate in a relatively unimpaired environment. Bridging the gap between air and space, VLEO spacecraft fly above airborne anti-access areas while operating significantly closer to the area of responsibility on the ground than existing satellites. Additionally, unlike LEO and GEO, debris in VLEO deorbits in hours or days rather than in decades or more.

“We are proud to be leveraging our SabreSat satellite design to support critical VLEO technology advancements for DARPA’s game-changing Otter program,” said Spence Wise, Redwire Senior Vice President, Missions and Platforms. “As VLEO emerges as a critical domain for national security missions, Redwire is continuing to make investments to support technology innovation and strategic operations in this environment.”

As the prime contractor and mission systems enabler for DARPA’s Otter program, Redwire will be responsible for building the SabreSat bus, advancing the critical technologies necessary for the mission, and integrating, coordinating, and leading the team for the project. To support mission planning and execution for the program, Redwire is using proprietary digital engineering tools that are configured for the unique environment of VLEO. This includes Redwire’s Digitally Engineered Mission Systems & Integration (DEMSI) platform and processes, which utilizes high-fidelity physics and thermosphere models that account for space weather to model atmospheric drag and material degradation caused by atomic oxygen.

Redwire’s highly flexible SabreSat “orbital drone” is modular in size, accommodating a variety of mission applications, including high-resolution intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); resilient communications; navigation; and Earth science payloads. Designed for performance, endurance, and cost-effectiveness, SabreSat is intended to seed the market for VLEO capabilities.

In addition to SabreSat, Redwire’s European office is leveraging its Phantom European VLEO Platform to study the use of VLEO for the European Space Agency’s Skimsat program together with Thales Alenia Space UK, with the goal of substantially increasing Earth observation capabilities while decreasing costs. On both sides of the Atlantic, Redwire is conducting trailblazing work on VLEO to transform this innovative concept from idea to reality. For more information on the SabreSat orbital drone, Phantom, and Redwire’s VLEO capabilities, visit

About Redwire

Redwire Corporation (NYSE:RDW) is a global space infrastructure and innovation company enabling civil, commercial, and national security programs. Redwire’s proven and reliable capabilities include avionics, sensors, power solutions, critical structures, mechanisms, radio frequency systems, platforms, missions, and microgravity payloads. Redwire combines decades of flight heritage and proven experience with an agile and innovative culture. Redwire’s approximately 700 employees working from 14 facilities located throughout the United States and Europe are committed to building a bold future in space for humanity, pushing the envelope of discovery and science while creating a better world on Earth. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Emily Devine



Source: Redwire Corporation