The first 10 satellites for the Tranche 0 Transport and Tracking Layer of the Space Development Agency’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture launched Sunday aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The second batch of satellites for the Tranche 0 layer, which will demonstrate low-latency military communications to enable warfighters to track missile threats, is set to launch in June, the Department of Defense said Sunday.
The Trache 0 layer will be composed of 20 data transport satellites and eight spacecraft for missile warning and tracking operations. Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems will each build 10 Transport satellites, while SpaceX and L3Harris Technologies will each produce four Tracking satellites.
York Space Systems supplied eight Transport satellites and SpaceX delivered two Tracking satellites for the initial launch. The satellites will undergo a series of tests and checkout of the mission payloads and bus prior to the start of the demonstration.
“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,” said Derek Tournear, director of SDA and a previous Wash100 awardee.
The Naval Research Laboratory will provide ground support for Tranche 0, which will demonstrate on-orbit fusion, beyond-line-of-sight targeting and ground-based sensor fusion in addition to missile warning and tracking functions.
SDA intends to launch Tranche 1 satellites in late 2024. Tranche 1 will consist of a dozen tactical demonstration satellites, 126 Transport Layer satellites and 35 Tracking satellites.