Critical design reviews for two separate sensors for the Missile Track Custody program have been completed, Space Systems Command said in a Nov. 28 press release, setting the stage for the payloads to be integrated in satellites that will detect and track missiles from medium earth orbit beginning in 2026.
The sensors, built respectively by Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon Technologies, will trace missiles and hypersonic glide vehicles as part of a multilayered architecture alongside the Space Development Agency’s tracking satellites in low earth orbit and Next Generation Overheard Persistent Infrared satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
“The CDRs proved the sensors designs are mature and we can move from demo to development,” Lt. Col. Gary Goff, material leader for strategic payloads with SSC’s Space Sensing Directorate, said in the release.
Both companies said in their releases that the next phase for the program will focus on development of space and ground segments, which will be followed by a full system critical design review planned for summer 2023, according to the SSC release.
The Space Force’s fiscal year 2023 budget documents say up to six satellites are planned for the MEO constellation, though the service has not yet decided whether to move forward with payloads from both companies or push down to a single vendor.