SpaceX awarded contract to build US military tracking satellites
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of two companies to be awarded a $149 million contract from the Space Development Agency to develop missile-tracking satellites for the U.S.
SpaceX and defense contractor L3 Harris were chosen to build the satellites as part of the National Defense Space Architecture’s Trache 0, which will include 20 transport layer satellites and 8 tracking satellites. L3 Harris received $193 million from the agency to build its satellites.
The companies will build four overhead persistent infrared imaging (OPIR) satellites of their own design that must be able to track missiles and communicate directly with transport layer satellites. Those satellites are currently being developed by Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems under separate contracts.
SpaceX will be developing its satellites around an infrared sensor with a wide field of view, Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear told SpaceNews. The company plans to build the satellite based on its Starlink satellite, but will have the OIPR sensor come from another supplier.
The satellites should be ready by the end of fiscal 2022.
SpaceX on Tuesday launched 60 new Starlink satellites at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.