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L3Harris, Northrop to Develop Hypersonic-Tracking Orbital Satellites

The Space Development Agency (SDA) has selected L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman Strategic Space Systems to develop orbital defense satellites to track, identify, and target advanced trajectory weapons.

The deal includes the assembly of 14 prototype satellites for the National Defense Space Architecture’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer. The models will be among the first of 100 satellites to be launched in low Earth orbit.

The contract is valued at over $1.3 billion, with L3Harris and Northrop Grumman receiving $700 million and $617 million, respectively. The added service package for the project is estimated at around $50 million, the press release said.

The agency opened the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer for proposals in March with several proposals submitted to Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear. Those which were not selected have not been undisclosed.

“The T1 Tracking Layer effort is a critical step toward building the National Defense Space Architecture,” Tournear said.

“SDA is confident that selection of the L3Harris and Northrop Grumman teams provides the best overall solution to accelerate delivery of a low-Earth orbit constellation with wide-field-of-view infrared sensors for a global missile warning and missile tracking capability in Tranche 1, on schedule. I’m pleased to see our industry partners building the marketplace necessary to quickly deliver new space capabilities to the warfighter,” the director added.

The satellites will begin launching in April 2025.

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