The US Space Development Agency (SDA) has awarded Raytheon Technologies a $250-million contract to design and develop seven missile warning and tracking satellites.
The agreement is reportedly part of the country’s efforts to help its Indo-Pacific Command monitor Chinese ballistic and hypersonic missile launches.
The new satellites will be integrated into the SDA’s “Tranche 1” low Earth orbit satellites for improved global missile tracking capability.
According to Raytheon official Dave Broadbent, developing the “resilient” and “affordable” satellites will bolster America’s ability to track emerging threats.
“Continuing to develop this architecture with SDA and our industry partners will be a high priority for us in the coming months,” he added.
In addition to delivering the satellites, Raytheon will provide the SDA with the necessary launch and ground operations support.
‘Biggest Threat in Space’
China has carried out a series of hypersonic missile tests, including one in 2021 that greatly stunned the West.
The weapon reportedly reached more than five times the speed of sound over the South China Sea.
General Bradley Chance Saltzman, the US Chief of Space Operations, described Beijing as the “biggest threat in space” due to its increasing activities in the domain.
While Raytheon’s missile warning and tracking satellites are expected to address a wide variety of Chinese threats, they will especially focus on those in space.
The satellites will feature the company’s Wide Field of View overhead persistent infrared sensor, Blue Canyon Technologies’ Saturn-class microsatellite bus, and SEAKR Engineering’s electronics payload.