The Space Development Agency has released a formal proposal seeking a launch provider for its first tranche of 28 transport and tracking satellites, which are set to take off between September 2022 and March 2023.
The Tranche 0 satellites will provide regional sensing and data transport capabilities, and the agency is seeking a "delivery-on-orbit" service, according to the request for proposals, which was released Oct. 6. The notice states that the launch services provider will determine the number of launches needed to meet SDA's requirements. The first mission is slated to fly in September 2022.
The RFP notes that the provider must be a commercial company based in the United States. Responses are due by Nov. 5.
Tranche 0 will be made up of 20 transport satellites, which will send data to weapon systems on a "mesh network" in space, and eight tracking satellites tasked with detecting hypersonic threats and helping transport satellites pass data. Lockheed Martin and York Space Systems will build the initial transport space vehicles and L3Harris and SpaceX will develop wide-field-of-view detection satellites for the tracking layer.