SpaceX wins space development agency contracts to build L3 Harris missile-warning satellites

SDA Director Derek Dornier says SpaceX “came up with a very reliable plan” that improves the Starling assembly lineup

WASHINGTON – Space Development Agency has awarded a $ 149 million contract to SpaceX and a $ 193.5 million contract to L3 Harris to build four satellites to detect and monitor ballistic and hypersonic missiles.

Oct. 5, announced deals for the first eight satellites of the largest space development agency galaxy of sensor satellites known as Tracking Layer Trench 0. This is SpaceX’s first military contract to manufacture satellites.

Derek Tornier, director of the Space Development Agency, said the two companies would each deliver four satellites by September 2022. Spacenews.

Each satellite will have a “wide-view” overhead continuous infrared (OPIR) sensor capable of detecting and monitoring advanced missile threats from low Earth orbit. Each satellite will have an optical crosslink, so the relay can send data to the satellites.

Tornier said the winners were selected based on their technical qualifications and ability to deliver satellites quickly.

SpaceX proposes a new satellite design based on the Starling bus that SpaceX designed for its Internet mega-constellation. Tornier said SpaceX receives the OPIR sensor from another supplier, but could not release the name. SpaceX has not yet released its subcontractors for this project.

L3 Harris bid for a complete satellite on the bus and payload.

The optical cross-links in the observation layer must be compatible with the optical cross-links used in the transport layer satellites. Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems Are configured for the Space Development Company.

The Transport Layer is the backbone for moving data collected by sensors from anywhere in the world that the US military needs.

Tornier SpaceX “came up with a very reliable program” that enhances its Starling assembly lineup.

“The selection is based on technical merit, but the table gets top priority,” he said. “The SDA model is based on improving business technology. We have increased the business tier 2 suppliers. This is an example of how we can improve business tier 1 suppliers. ”

“We want to show that we can take commodity trading components and do a DOT job,” Turnier said.

Eight satellites will be launched in 2022 to demonstrate the tracking layer. The next phase will see the launch of 28 more wide-angle satellites and one or two “medium view field” satellites. Medium field vision sensors provide very specific target location data to automatically mark weapons.

Two of the 15 satellites’ planes use 28 wide-field and two medium-field OPIR satellites.

Tornier said the SDA is now reviewing bids for the “Mission Systems Engineering and Integration” contract. The winner will be responsible for connecting the transport layer and the tracking layer to the ground systems.

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