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Lockheed selects Terran Orbital to build 42 satellites

The Tranche 1 Transport Layer is a mesh network of optically interconnected satellites for a data transport system.
Photo credit: SDA

Lockheed Martin has awarded Terran Orbital a contract to build 42 satellites for the Space Development Agency‘s Tranche 1 Transport Layer, the Initial Warfighting Capability Tranche of the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA).

Commenting on the contract, Marc Bell, Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Terran Orbital, said: “Terran Orbital is excited to build upon our Transport Layer contracts with Lockheed Martin. This contract for Tranche 1, along with our previous contract for Tranche 0, not only affirms confidence in our industry-leading spacecraft designs, but also validates our ability to deliver game-changing capability in partnership with Lockheed Martin. We are honoured and very proud to participate in this important award in support of U.S. military forces around the world.”

Lockheed Martin Space Protected Communications Mission Area Leader Erik Daehler, added: “Partners like Terran Orbital are critical to delivering national defence space capabilities for the Space Development Agency. We see our work with them as a prime example of how to work hand-in-hand with our mission partners to build a strong marketplace that enables us to quickly deliver.”

The NDSA’s operational utility depends on ubiquitous data and communications from a constellation of relatively small, mass-producible space vehicles in the Transport Layer of low Earth orbit. Space vehicles in Tranche 1 of the Transport Layer will be similar to those currently under development for Tranche 0 with targeted technology enhancements, mission-focused payload configurations, increased integration, and greater production efficiencies. Tranche 1 will provide global communications access and deliver persistent regional encrypted connectivity in support of warfighter missions around the globe by serving as the backbone for the Department of Defense’s Joint All Domain Command and Control built on low-latency data transport, sensor-to-shooter connectivity, and direct-to-weapon connectivity.

On February 15, 2022, Terran Orbital announced a record $170+m in new contracts and awards since September 30, 2021. That record number is inclusive of today’s announcement and the announcement made by Terran Orbital on February 17, 2022, that it was awarded a contract by Lockheed Martin Aeronautics to build and support three microsatellites class satellites.