The Space Development Agency is seeking proposals for a program to build and deploy satellite prototypes for the first tranche of the National Defense Space Architecture’s tracking layer.
SDA expects the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer to help detect, identify and track hypersonic weapons and other advanced missile threats and will award other transaction authority agreements to develop a constellation of up to 28 space vehicles divided into four orbital planes, according to a notice published Monday.
The agency may award a follow-on contract to one or more prototyping vendors to produce 28 to 48 satellites with infrared sensors for the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer.
Each satellite should be equipped with three optical communications terminals, an infrared mission payload, a Ka-band communications payload and multiple pointing modes and must continuously operate without thermal or power constraints, according to the draft solicitation.
Each vendor should propose to build two of the orbital planes with related ground support, operations support and sustainment capability and meet at least one of the three conditions: participation of at least one nontraditional defense contractor or nonprofit research organization in the prototype project; all significant participants in the transaction are small businesses; and at least a third of the project’s total cost should be paid out of funds provided by sources other than the federal government.
SDA said it expects the T1 Tracking Layer’s first plane to launch no later than April 30, 2025, and the subsequent planes to follow on one-month intervals.
The agency will accept responses to the solicitation through April 18.
In December, SDA released a draft solicitation for the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer prototyping effort.