The US Department of Defence’s space agency has awarded SpaceX with a $150 million contract to launch 28 satellites into near-polar orbits.
In a brief December 31 news update, the DoD’s Space Development Agency (SDA) announced it had awarded a $150,450,000 fixed-price contract for launch services to SpaceX.
The contract requires SpaceX to launch 28 satellites for the agency’s Tranche 0 Transport and Tracking Layer constellation. The satellites will be launched into two different near-polar orbital planes hosting 14 satellites each at an altitude of approximately 950 kilometres.
According to an October 6 SDA request for launch services proposals, the Tranche 0 Transport and Tracking Layer constellation will feature three unique satellite types. The first are 20-kilogram “Transport” satellites, of which 20 will be launched, that will provide secure low-latency military communications. The last eight satellites will include four 50-kilogram and four 14-kilogram “Tracking” satellites, which are designed to provide global early warning of missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems.
SpaceX is required to perform the first of two launches in September 2022. The second launch is to be performed as close to the first as possible while occurring no later than March 21, 2023. Both of the planned missions will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
The SDA was established in March 2019 in response to an acceleration in space-based capabilities around the world. The agency is tasked with creating affordable and effective military space capabilities to provide persistent global reconnaissance for the US military.