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SDA Makes Awards to Build 72 Beta Variant Satellites

SDA’s Transport Layer. Credit: SDA

Ibadan, 23 August 2023. – The Space Development Agency (SDA) has announced the awards of two prototype agreements with a total value of approximately $1.5 billion to build and operate the Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) – Beta variant prototype constellation. The constellation will consequently comprise 72 satellites and will form the foundation of Tranche 2 of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

SDA awarded these firm-fixed priced Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements to Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Redondo Beach, California, and Lockheed Martin Corp., Littleton, Colorado, to each build and operate 36 T2TL – Beta prototype constellation satellites – in three orbital planes of 12 satellites each. Furthermore, the first plane will tentatively be ready for launch by September 2026.

Likewise, the T2TL – Beta space vehicles will provide global communications access and deliver persistent global encrypted connectivity to support missions like beyond line of sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advance missile threats.

“We are now solidly in the procurement phase for Tranche 2 of the PWSA to support a 2026 delivery,” said Derek Tournear, SDA director. “Tranche 2 brings global persistence for all our capabilities in Tranche 1 and adds advanced tactical data links and future proliferated missions. The Beta variant of the Tranche 2 Transport Layer vehicles are similar to Tranche 1 Transport Layer vehicles while also integrating advanced tactical communication technology demonstrated by the Tranche 1 Development and Experimentation System (T1DES).”

The PWSA Transport Layer will provide multi-band global communications access and persistent encrypted connectivity for warfighter missions. Furthermore, the Transport Layer will be the space backbone for the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) infrastructure with low-latency data transport, sensor-to-shooter connectivity, and tactical satellite communication (TACSATCOM) direct-to-platform.

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