SpaceX earned a $149 million contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the military's U.S. Space Development Agency (SDA), according to a financial document published by the Pentagon Department of Defense on October 2nd.
SDA Director Derek Tournear told SpaceNews SpaceX “came in with an extremely credible proposal” to develop the satellites based on the Starlink bus design. SpaceX is actively manufacturing Starlink satellites for its broadband internet network. The company builds its satellites at a facility located in Redmond, Washington. SpaceX officials previously said they are manufacturing 120 satellites per month. Tournear told reporters the company was selected for its ability to deliver satellites rapidly.
Under the SDA contract, SpaceX will use its Starlink manufacturing facility to build four satellites for the military. These satellites are called "Tracking Layer Tranche 0" and will be equipped with a wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor supplied by a subcontractor. The satellites will be capable of detecting intercontinental ballistic missiles in real time and track it with high accuracy to intercept.
SDA also awarded a contract to L3Harris valued at $193.5 million, to build four satellites that will also be part of the U.S. military's missile-tracking satellite constellation in low Earth orbit.
All eight satellites by both companies are scheduled to be ready for deployment by fall 2022.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.