Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed its Critical Design Review (CDR) on a proliferated low-Earth orbit constellation of 16 missile tracking satellites for the Space Development Agency, clearing the way to begin production work on the space vehicles.

• The CDR maintained an accelerated pace and was completed within 13 months of the award announcement.
• The satellites are part of the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer (T1TRK) that will identify and track hypersonic weapons and advanced missiles from the earliest stages of launch through interception.
• Once in orbit, the satellites will operate in two of four low-Earth orbital planes, interconnected with Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) – another element of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) designed as a high-speed, high-volume data transport network connecting U.S. forces around the globe.

Fourteen of the satellites for T1TRK will feature a wide field-of-view sensor, three optical communications terminals and a Ka-band payload for communications. Two satellites will feature a medium field-of-view infrared sensor to demonstrate a fire-control solution.
Northrop Grumman is a leading contractor providing both space vehicles and ground systems for SDA’s PWSA, a next-generation constellation in low-Earth orbit. The company continues to leverage this growing industry base of capable suppliers to support this critical mission. PWSA has two major lines of effort:

• The Tracking Layer: Focused on developing a global constellation of infrared missile warning and missile tracking satellites that integrate with the Transport Layer’s low-latency meshed communication network, enabling conventional and advanced missile tracking from proliferated low-Earth orbit.
• The Transport Layer: Designed to provide low-latency, high-volume data connectivity supporting U.S. military missions around the world.

To date, SDA has awarded Northrop Grumman 132 satellites. In March, Northrop Grumman successfully completed a Critical Design Review for T1TL. In October, SDA awarded Northrop Grumman a contract to design and build 38 satellites as part of Tranche 2 Transport Layer – Alpha (T2TL-Alpha).