The U.S. Space Development Agency chose Lockheed Martin to build 18 satellites (“space vehicles”) as part of its Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation – a contract with a potential value of $890 million. Lockheed will provide 16 wide-field-of-view missile-warning/missile-tracking space vehicles with infrared sensors, and two space vehicles with missile-defense infrared sensors able to generate fire control-quality tracks as part of a preliminary missile defense mission.
The agency made similar assignments to L3Harris and Sierra Space for its project, which involves a total of 54 satellites able to track advanced missile threats, plus six space vehicles, which will be coordinated tol gather and process data to define and initiate a missile intercept program.
According to SDA, the total, $2.5-billion assignment calls for the system to be in place by April 2027.
Together, the 54 satellites will be part of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) that will incorporate hundreds of satellites in low-Earth orbit, developed for data transport and missile defense missions. The tracking layer (totaling approximately 100 satellites) aims to establish continuous Earth coverage by a “meshed communication network” provided by PWSA’s separate, transport layer.
“As missile threats increase from around the world, we fully support the proliferated space architecture the SDA is building to protect for our nation and allies,” stated Michael Corriea, v.p. - Warning Programs at Lockheed Martin Space. “We’ve made a significant investment in digital and production technologies, and with our experience supporting SDA spacecraft, we’re looking forward to delivering the next level of capability.”
Each of the Lockheed satellites will incorporate a Terran Orbital bus and an infrared missile-tracking payload supplied by General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems - Optical Sensor Systems.
These satellites also will be equipped with Lockheed’s SmartSat™ software for dynamic mission change/adjustments.
The 18 T2 spacecraft will be assembled, integrated, and tested by Lockheed at its new, small satellite processing operation.