News Mar 7, 2024

Jacobs’ Mango Two Paves the Way for Next-Gen, Affordable Space Solutions

Jacobs advances its affordable Space Radar Payload Product Line with its pair of Mango Two satellites achieving successful on-orbit performance.

Chip processing hardware for Mango Two satellite

Image: Spire

From their sun-synchronous orbit 500 kilometers above the earth, Jacobs Mango Two satellites are performing critical Radio Frequency (RF) survey missions and demonstrating key technologies for inter-platform communications. Learn what makes this technology as affordable as it is groundbreaking. 

Mango Two represents a significant leap forward in addressing the challenges of detecting and geolocating signals of interest with affordable, resilient commercial systems. As we witnessed the "2-ball" satellite launch in November 2023, Mango Two is not just expanding capabilities in this mission area, but laying the pathway for the next generation of space solutions that will empower decision-makers with powerful tools to maintain a decisive advantage in the face of evolving threats. 

On November 9, 2023, Jacobs’ Mango Two satellites were launched from Vandenburg Space Force Base in Vandenburg, California aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 Transporter Nine rideshare mission. Mango Two has now successfully completed payload checkout – a major milestone for this new technology – and has begun performing RF survey missions with the Mango Series Payload (MSP) aboard two (2) identical satellites using Spire Global Inc., Space as a Service (SPaaS) commercial buses. 

These missions will demonstrate key technologies of the Jacobs RF sensing mission area on commodity spacecraft buses. Earth to Space communications will be performed using a ground station in Tucson, Arizona. Crosslink communications will also take place between the satellites using a Jacobs-developed satellite-to-satellite two-way time transfer burst.

"In the ever-changing landscape of threats that can be detected from low size, weight, and power (SWAP) and affordable spacecraft, Jacobs leads with Mango Two, a revolutionary RF signal detection system,” explains Chris Carroll, senior director of advanced programs for Jacobs’ Rapid Solutions group. “By integrating advanced detection and geolocation algorithms aboard Xilinx RF System on a Chip (RFSoC) processing hardware, we're shaping the future of space solutions, empowering decision-makers to stay ahead of evolving threats, all while remaining affordable and flexible." 

With 25 years of expertise in advanced RF electronically scanned array (ESA) radar payload and processing technology, Jacobs stands out as a trailblazer in offering cost-effective and robust RF signals intelligence capabilities. Following the triumph of the 2020-2021 Mango One radar technology flight demonstration, which also embraced SPaaS, Mango Two stepped into the spotlight with a "2-ball" flight demonstration. This showcase was designed to demonstrate the detection, identification and geolocation of low-power, agile RF signals, highlighting the promise of affordable space solutions.