SpaceX has officially been awarded a contract worth more than $149 million by the US Space Development Agency (SDA) to build missile warning and tracking satellites, according to reports from The Verge. Another company by the name of L3Harris Technologies was also awarded a $193 million contract to also build tracking satellites.
The deal will see SpaceX and L3Harris produce low Earth Orbit satellites that feature “wide field of view” infrared sensors capable of monitoring any potential threats as part of the SDA’s Tracking Layer Tranche 0 system. SpaceX and L3Harris will work together to construct eight satellites which will be delivered to the Department of Defense.
The satellites will work in conjunction with SDA’s Transport Layer, which will eventually see a constellation of between 300 and 500 satellites all providing “low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide” to US Military assets.
The missile-tracking satellite produced by SpaceX will be based on the Starlink satellites, but with an overhead persistent infrared [OPIR] sensor attached to it, according to reports from SpaceNews.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX won a $149 million contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the Pentagon, the U.S. Space Development Agency said, in the company’s first government contract to build satellites https://t.co/eS9y0vKebg pic.twitter.com/UDcW2vVIkK
— Reuters Business (@ReutersBiz) October 6, 2020
“We are confident these fixed-price awards will help us deliver the initial tranche of the Tracking Layer on schedule. We were pleased with the response from industry and commercial partners to this competition.” Derek Tournear, SDA director, said in a statement to The Verge.
The SDA now wants the satellites delivered and ready to launch by the end of 2022.