by Douglas Messier
The Pentagon’s Space Development Agency (SDA) has awarded Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems contracts worth a combined $281.5 million to build 20 communications satellites that will beam data to military forces around the world.
Lockheed Martin’s contract is worth $187.5 million. York Space Systems received a contract worth $94 million. Each company will provide 20 satellites.
The contract awards are part of the Transport Tranche 0, which aims to create “an interoperable mesh network of tens of satellites to provide periodic low-latency and high-capacity data connectivity,” according to program documents.
The spacecraft will have optical cross links and networking that will allow them to communicate with each other. They will also have Link 16 military tactical data link network and Integrated Broadcast Service (IBS) payloads.
“The Transport Layer will serve as the backbone of the architecture by providing assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to a full range of warfighter applications,” SDA said.
All 20 satellites are to be launched by September 2022.