SpaceX launches the Space Development Agency Tranche 0 mission carrying U.S. military satellites to orbit

SpaceX launches the Space Development Agency Tranche 0 mission carrying U.S. military satellites to orbit

The Space Development Agency (SDA) is a U.S. Space Force direct-reporting unit tasked with deploying innovative space technology to aid United States military assets. The SDA aims to deploy a Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) system that will consist of hundreds of satellites orbiting Earth, delivered in "tranches" every 2 years, with each tranche providing more capability than the previous. The SDA plans to launch a total of 28 satellites that will make up Tranche 0. The first SDA Tranche 0 mission delivered the first fleet of 10 satellites to Low Earth Orbit today (April 2) atop SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

“The space vehicles launched during this mission will serve a part of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, a new layered network of satellites in low-Earth orbit and supporting elements that will provide global military communication and missile warning, indication, and tracking capabilities,” shared SpaceX. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off at 7:29 a.m. PT from Space Launch Complex 4E (SLC-4E) at the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

Soon after propelling the upper-stage carrying the SDA payload to orbit, the Falcon 9 first-stage booster reentered Earth with a propulsive touchdown on Landing Zone-4. Recovering rockets enables SpaceX to increase the pace of spaceflight in a cost-effective manner. This particular booster is identified as B1072-2, it previously launched a SpaceX Starlink mission. Now, this booster can be reused on a future mission. SpaceX shared an incredible video of the first-stage recovery, shown below. To date, the company has landed a total of 183 orbital-class rockets and reused Falcon 9 boosters 155 times.

“Today the Space Development Agency successfully launched the first installment of Tranche 0 satellites as part of our Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. Tranche 0 will provide communication services & more to support the #warfighter. Congrats, SDA!” tweeted U.S. Space Force General Chance Saltzman. –“Thank you for entrusting SpaceX with this mission,” replied SpaceX founder Elon Musk.

The first fleet of 10 Tranche 0 satellites will operate in two orbital planes at an altitude of approximately 1,000 kilometers above Earth. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) shared that 8 out of 10 SDA Tranche 0 [T0] satellites are manufactured by York Space Systems and SpaceX provided two ‘Tracking’ satellites for the military. No additional details of these payloads have been released, likely due to national security. “To fully populate Tranche 0, York Space Systems and Lockheed Martin will produce 10 Transport satellites each, for a total of 20 T0 Transport satellites. SpaceX and L3Harris will provide four Tracking satellites each for a total of eight T0 satellites. Tranche 0 ground support is provided by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory,” DoD representatives shared in a press release after the mission.

"This is a major accomplishment for SDA and for the whole Department of Defense. It shows that our key pillars, proliferation and spiral development, can deliver for national security space," said Director of the SDA Derek Tournear, "Through this launch, we've demonstrated that SDA can keep a schedule to deliver enhanced capabilities every two years. This revolutionary approach is enabled by growth in the commercial marketplace, allowing the PWSA to move forward to deliver warfighting capabilities in each future tranche."

》 Author's note: Thanks for reading Write your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have any story suggestions or feedback, feel free to Direct Message me on Twitter: Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo @JaneidyEve Read my most recent stories here: Recent News Stories 《   

Featured Image Source: SpaceX

About the Author

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo

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.

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