US Space Force Cancels Multibillion-Dollar Military Comms Satellite Program

The US Space Force has decided to forgo a multibillion-dollar program to develop a new communications satellite for the military.

The highly classified program, which was awarded to Northrop Grumman in January 2020, was called off due to increased costs and schedule delays.

People familiar with the decision told Bloomberg that there have been recurring difficulties in developing the satellite’s payloads, hence the program’s termination.

Currently, Northrop has a space segment backlog of $40.4 billion, which is expected to be reduced by about $2 billion with the cancellation of the satellite contract.

A company representative refused to comment on the decision, saying the program is “in the restricted domain.”

Imminent Decision

The decision to cancel the program was spearheaded by US Air Force Assistant Secretary for Space Acquisition Frank Calvelli.

He reportedly notified congressional committees as early as last year about his intention to seek termination of the program as he prepared the US Space Force budget for 2025.

As a result, funding for the program under the “Space Force Special Space Activities” was slashed in the final defense policy bill.

Other Satellite Contracts

Despite the cancellation, Northrop still has other military satellite contracts with the US military.

In 2020, it was awarded a contract to develop a geostationary communications satellite that will compete against a Boeing design.

The company was also tapped by the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency to build 38 data transport satellites as part of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture network.

According to an October 2023 announcement, the agreement is worth $1.3 billion.

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