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

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

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

WASHINGTON – The space development company has awarded a $ 149 million contract to SpaceX and a $ 193.5 million contract to L3 Harris.

The deals, announced on October 5, are for the first eight satellites of the galaxy, the largest space development agency for sensor satellites called 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 gets 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 tracking layer must be compatible with the optical links used in transport layer satellites. Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems Are configured for the Space Development Company.

The transport layer is the backbone that moves the data collected by the sensors anywhere in the world that the US military needs.

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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 number of commercial 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 step is to add 28 more broad-spectrum satellites and one or two “medium-vision” satellites, which will be developed by the Missile Defense Company. Medium field vision sensors provide very specific target location data to automatically indicate weapons.

A galaxy with 28 wide-field and two medium-field OPIR satellites will be stationed on two planes of 15 satellites each.

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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