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Northrop Grumman Completes Critical Design Review for Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer

Our Bureau - : Nov 24, 2023 - : 6:21 am

Northrop Grumman 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.

“We are developing a more responsive, flexible and resilient space architecture to counter sophisticated threats,” said Candace Givens, vice president, overhead persistent infrared and geospatial systems, Northrop Grumman. “By passing this critical milestone on an accelerated timeline, we are closer to delivering critical missile defense and tracking technologies.”

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.


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