Cosmic Custodians: Lockheed's Satellite Symphony

SPACEImage Source: LM


Lockheed Martin secures an $890 million contract from the Space Development Agency to craft 18 space vehicles for Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation. These satellites, equipped with infrared sensors, will fortify global defense by detecting and tracking conventional and advanced missile threats, including hypersonic systems. The firm's investment in digital technologies ensures cutting-edge capabilities. The satellites, integrating Lockheed's SmartSat™ and leveraging proven software, signify a strategic leap in space-based defense systems.


In a transformative leap for space-based defense, Lockheed Martin clinches a landmark contract from the Space Development Agency (SDA) to construct 18 space vehicles earmarked for the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation. Valued at $890 million, this firm-fixed price agreement underscores Lockheed's pivotal role in advancing global defense capabilities.

The Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation comprises 16 wide field of view missile warning/tracking satellites armed with infrared sensors. Additionally, two space vehicles featuring missile defense infrared sensors capable of generating fire control-quality tracks will empower preliminary missile defense mission capabilities.

The overarching goal of the T2 Tracking Layer is to expedite the provision of global, persistent indications, detection, warning, tracking, and identification of both conventional and advanced missile threats, with a keen focus on hypersonic missile systems. This visionary constellation will not only enhance our ability to detect threats but will also incorporate fire control-quality sensors, elevating the level of preliminary missile defense capabilities.

Michael Corriea, Lockheed Martin Space's Vice President of Warning Programs, emphasizes the company's commitment to bolstering national and allied security in the face of increasing missile threats worldwide. He underscores Lockheed's substantial investment in digital and production technologies, coupled with its extensive experience in supporting SDA spacecraft, as key assets in delivering cutting-edge capabilities.

Each satellite in the T2 Tracking Layer will be constructed with a Terran Orbital bus and an infrared missile tracking payload from General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems - Optical Sensor Systems. Lockheed's innovative SmartSat™ software platform will empower dynamic mission adjustments through simple application uploads, ensuring adaptability in orbit.

Lockheed Martin's new small satellite processing facility in Colorado will be the hub for assembling, integrating, and testing the 18 T2 spacecraft. This facility is specifically designed for high-volume satellite delivery, marking a significant stride in Lockheed's production capabilities.

Noteworthy is Lockheed's strategic use of Horizon™ Command & Control and Compass™ Mission Planning software, which underpins SDA's missions, enabling critical capabilities like orbit management, autonomous operations, and formation flying across constellations of varying sizes.


Lockheed Martin's latest contract with the Space Development Agency propels the company into the forefront of space-based defense innovation. The development of 18 advanced satellites equipped with cutting-edge technology marks a significant stride in fortifying global defense against evolving missile threats. Lockheed's commitment to digital advancements, coupled with its proven track record, positions it as a key player in shaping the future of space-based security.

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