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Derek Tournear: Space Development Agency Plans Satellite Procurement for LEO Mesh Network

Jeff Brody
Derek Tournear

Space Development Agency Director Derek Tournear has said that SDA wants to begin the process of awarding contracts in August to procure communications and tracking satellites to form a mesh network in low-Earth orbit, National Defense magazine reported Thursday.

He told reporters at a press call that SDA released a draft request for proposals for the development of a space-based “transport layer” comprising 20 satellites that will support a proposed joint command-and-control system.

Tournear added the agency aims send the satellites into orbit by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022.

In November, the U.S. Air Force and Navy signed an agreement to establish a Joint All-Domain C2 infrastructure based on the latter branch's service-wide weapons control system.

Tournear noted that SDA wants to build a low-latency network that can directly transmit data from satellites and an integrated broadcast system to warfighters.

“We would go directly down via existing tactical data links, directly to a warfighter in theater,” he said. "In essence, have the transport layer operate independent of GPS to be able to maintain its own timing signature.”

The agency will accept industry feedback on its draft RFP through April 17 and expects to issue a final solicitation by May 1.

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