- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
Blue Canyon Technologies Announces Reaction Wheel Milestone on NASA’s CYGNSS Mission
Small-satellite manufacturer and mission services provider Blue Canyon Technologies LLC (“BCT” or “Blue Canyon”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, announced the five-year on-orbit milestone of its reaction wheels and star trackers on NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) mission. Manufactured and operated by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) for Principal Investigator Dr. Chris Ruf from the University of Michigan, the CYGNSS constellation includes 24 high-performance reaction wheels (RWp015) and eight star trackers provided by BCT.
“Our reaction wheel and tracker performance are key components to the mission’s attitude controls,” said Matt Pallas, Blue Canyon executive director of components. “We pride ourselves on delivering performance-proven products for each of our customer’s unique mission needs.”
The CYGNSS mission was extended three years to 2023, with plans to revisit and possibly extend through 2026. The mission consists of a constellation of eight low-Earth orbit microsatellites that make frequent measurements of the ocean surface to monitor the intensity and development of tropical cyclones.
“Capturing this data is critical in predicting the intensity of storms and mapping them accurately through the GPS signals received by the microsatellites,” said SwRI’s Jillian Redfern, CYGNSS project manager and mission operations manager.
Each of the eight satellites is equipped with Blue Canyon’s three reaction wheels and one star tracker. The reaction wheels deliver three-axis attitude control with high-pointing accuracy, brushless DC motors, ultra-smooth bearings, and the advanced lubrication system provide low-jitter performance and a long service life, as shown in the CYGNSS mission. BCT’s star trackers offer best-in-class performance on missions that require low mass and low power and lead the way in pointing performance.
At its manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado, Blue Canyon produces more than 30 reaction wheels weekly and has delivered over 1000 flight reaction wheels, of which 500 have successfully flown. BCT’s reaction wheel design offers seven sizes to fit many different applications and has expanded product offerings into high torque and power-efficient control moment gyroscopes.
About Blue Canyon Technologies
Blue Canyon Technologies (BCT), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Raytheon Technologies, offers a diverse portfolio of innovative, reliable and affordable spacecraft that enable a broad range of missions and technological advancements. BCT’s mission is to enable space missions to expand the frontiers of science and defense. BCT is currently supporting nearly 50 unique missions with over 90 spacecraft, all in production or recently delivered at their newly developed 80,000-square-foot facility in Lafayette, Colorado.
BCT has supported missions for the U.S. Air Force, NASA and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and provided the Attitude Control Systems for the first interplanetary CubeSats, which successfully traveled to Mars. The company has been recognized with awards from Inc. Magazine’s 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies, the 2020 Best in Biz Award and the 2020 Tibbetts Award.
About Raytheon Intelligence & Space
Raytheon Intelligence & Space delivers the disruptive technologies our customers need to succeed in any domain, against any challenge. A developer of advanced sensors, training, and cyber and software solutions, Raytheon Intelligence & Space provides a decisive advantage to civil, military and commercial customers in more than 46 countries around the world. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the business generated $15 billion in pro forma annual revenue in 2020 and has 37,000 employees worldwide. Raytheon Intelligence & Space is one of four businesses that form Raytheon Technologies Corporation.