Tag: L3Harris

08
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

SpaceX, L3Harris win missile-warning satellite contracts from US military

The U.S. military has picked SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies to build up a new missile-warning satellite system in space.

In separate contracts, SpaceX and L3Harris will each provide four infrared satellites devoted to missile tracking as part of the larger National Defense Space Architecture program. The contract, awarded by the Department of Defense’s Space Development Agency (SDA), gives $193.5 million to L3Harris and $149 million to SpaceX. The satellites should be ready by the end of fiscal year 2022. 

“The satellites will be able to provide missile tracking data for hypersonic glide vehicles, and the next generation of advanced missile threats,” Derek Tournear, SDA director, said in a statement.

Related: What is a ballistic missile and how does it work?

SpaceX, originally a launch provider using its Falcon rockets, has entered the satellite construction market with its Starlink constellation of internet satellites. The company has launched more than 700 of the satellites in the last two years  and manufactures them at a facility in Seattle, Washington. L3Harris is an aerospace company with a history of military contracts for aircraft and missile defense. 

The new missile-tracking satellites will provide information to a separate set of 28 “transport satellites,” which will take offensive action based on what the missile trackers find. Construction for the 28 transport satellites will be awarded in a separate solicitation, SDA added.

“The transport satellites are the backbone of the National Defense Space Architecture,” Tournear said. “They take data from multiple tracking systems, fuse those, and are able to calculate a fire control solution, and then the transport satellites will be able to send those data down directly to a weapons platform via a tactical data link, or some other means.”

Taken together, the transport satellites and the missile-tracking satellites will be the first “tranche”

07
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

L3Harris, SpaceX win Space Development Agency contracts to build missile-warning satellites

SDA Director Derek Tournear said SpaceX “came in with an extremely credible proposal” that leverages the Starlink assembly line

WASHINGTON — The Space Development Agency awarded  $193.5 million to L3Harris and $149 million to SpaceX to build four satellites each to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles.

The contracts announced Oct. 5 are for the first eight satellites for a potentially much larger constellation of sensor satellites the Space Development Agency is calling Tracking Layer Tranche 0. 

The awards mark the first time the U.S. military has announced an order of satellites from SpaceX, which opened a factory in Seattle several years ago to produce thousands of small satellites for its Starlink broadband megaconstellation. 

Both SpaceX and L3Harris are required to deliver their satellites by September 2022, Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear told SpaceNews.

Each satellite will have a “wide field of view” overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensor capable of detecting and tracking advanced missile threats from low Earth orbit. The satellites will also be equipped with optical crosslinks to pass data to relay satellites. 

Tournear said the winners were selected based on technical merit and ability to deliver satellites quickly.

SpaceX’s missile-tracking satellite will be based on its Starlink bus with an OPIR sensor acquired from another supplier, Tournear said. He declined to name the payload provider and SpaceX has not disclosed subcontractors for the project.

L3Harris, according to Tournear, bid a complete satellite with the bus and payload produced in-house. 

The optical crosslinks in the Tracking Layer must be compatible with the optical links used in the Transport Layer satellites that Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems are building for the Space Development Agency under contracts awarded in August.

The Transport Layer is the backbone that moves data collected by the sensors to anywhere in the