Lockheed Martin, York Space bag contract to produce 20 satellites for Space Development Agency

The Space Development Agency’s constellation of communications satellites known as Transport Layer Tranche 0 awarded Lockheed Martin a $187.5 million contract and York Space Systems a $94 million contract.

Lockheed Martin, York Space bag contract to produce 20 satellites for Space Development Agency
Lockheed Martin, York Space bag contract to produce 20 satellites for Space Development Agency

Lockheed Martin, York Space bag contract to produce 20 satellites for Space Development Agency

The Pentagon’s space agency recently announced the first major contract awards for a network of satellites in low Earth orbit that will communicate with each other and relay data to the military forces on the ground, ships or airplanes. The Space Development Agency’s constellation of communications satellites known as Transport Layer Tranche 0 awarded Lockheed Martin a $187.5 million contract and York Space Systems a $94 million contract.

SpaceNews quoted SDA Director Derek Tournear as saying that each company is responsible to provide 10 satellites and all 20 will be launched by September 2022. Lockheed Martin and York Space are the first contractors selected but more will be picked in later tranches. He stated that they’ll be soliciting every two years.

He added that SDA satellites will be vendor-neutral, which implies that they all have to communicate with each other regardless of who builds them. Each batch of 10 satellites that Lockheed Martin and York Space will make have to be broken down into two types. Seven of the 10 satellites must be equipped with four optical cross links per spacecraft, and three satellites with two cross links and two downlinks.

Tournear said that each vendor’s bid was evaluated individually based on technology, price and schedule. For Lockheed Martin and York, he said that each one proposed an outstanding technical solution, with a good focus on schedule because they know that’s important.

They awarded them based completely on the technical merit and what they believed was their ability to be able to make schedule and provide a solution along with price considerations taken into account. Each of the satellite providers has the freedom to select their own suppliers for the optical links.