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Space Development Agency orders more work on hypersonic missile tracking

16th December 2021 - 13:15 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Rendering of the tracking layer satellite being developed by L3Harris for the Space Development Agency. (Image: L3Harris)

L3Harris and Moog Engineering will support work in the US to deliver LEO-based detection and tracking of hypersonic missiles.

L3Harris Technologies and Moog Engineering have received a $7.87 million contract for supplemental work with the Space Development Agency (SDA) on satellites to track hypersonic missiles.

The two companies will support work to ‘develop and deliver space vehicles to detect and track hypersonic vehicles from low Earth orbit [LEO]’, the DoD announced on 14 December.

Approximately 88% of the supplemental effort will be performed by L3Harris.

L3Harris and SpaceX each received contracts in October 2020 to design and develop four missile warning satellites apiece (these awards were confirmed in January 2021 after the unsuccessful bidders lost an appeal).

The eight satellites will comprise the initial tracking layer of the National Defense Space Architecture, which will eventually consist of hundreds of LEO satellites.

The SDA in September 2021 completed a preliminary design review of L3Harris-designed satellites; a critical design review is now in progress.

L3Harris is also developing a Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) prototype under a $121 million contract awarded by the Missile Defense Agency in January 2021.

US defence planners aim for the L3Harris/SpaceX satellites to detect and track hypersonic missiles before the HBTSS satellites take over with targeting data.

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