Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Northrop Grumman clears critical design review for transport satellites

Northrop Grumman recently completed a critical design review for its Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL), part of Space Development Agency’s (SDA) low-earth orbit network designed to communicate vital information to wherever it’s needed to support U.S. troops on the ground quickly and securely.

In early 2022, SDA awarded a combined $1.8 billion contract to York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin Space, and Northrop Grumman Space Systems to develop T1TL, a mesh network of 126 optically interconnected space vehicles (SV). These satellites will provide a resilient, low-latency, high-volume data transport communication system supporting U.S. military missions around the world.

Designed to connect elements of an integrated sensing architecture, the network will deliver persistent, secure connectivity and serve as a critical element for advancing the U.S. Department of Defense’s vision for Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2).

“We are leveraging our commercial marketplace partnerships to deliver a rapid, affordable, highly effective solution for SDA,” said Blake Bullock, vice president of communication systems, and strategic space systems, at Northrop Grumman. “Our T1TL solution builds on our decades of end-to-end mission expertise. We are uniquely capable of delivering a credible capability to support the warfighter.”

Northrop Grumman will provide the agency with 56 satellites, including the 42 communication satellites in the Tranche 1 Transport layer and 14 for the Tranche 1 Tracking layer, which includes an infrared sensor payload. The Tracking layer program recently completed its preliminary design review. Northrop Grumman also provides the ground system for its Transport and Tracking constellations.