General Dynamics wins ground systems contract for Space Development Agency’s megaconstellation

Common Dynamics’ companions on this contract embrace Iridium, KSAT, Emergent and Raytheon

WASHINGTON — Common Dynamics Mission Techniques gained a $324.5 million contract to function the bottom techniques and handle community operations of the Area Growth Company’s low Earth orbit constellation, the company introduced Might 26.

The seven-year contract is for $162.9 million as a baseline, with $161.5 million in choices to ascertain the bottom operations and integration (O&I) phase for SDA’s Tranche 1 constellation, a mesh community projected to have as many as 166 communications, data-relay and sensor satellites to help navy customers around the globe.

The bottom contract runs from Might 2022 till January 2025, and choices would lengthen the contract till September 2029.

The O&I contract is “value plus,” a sort of contract utilized by the Pentagon for the event of recent applied sciences the place the contractor is paid based mostly on the price of the venture plus a further charge.

SDA procures its satellites beneath fixed-price contracts however determined the O&I settlement with Common Dynamics ought to be cost-plus, an SDA official advised reporters. There’s a danger that, due to its complexity, the price of the venture might exceed the unique estimates and the federal government ought to soak up “a specific amount of danger” the official stated.

Common Dynamics for this bid teamed with Iridium Communications. Different companions embrace KSAT, Emergent and Raytheon. 

The scope of the contract is broad, together with community administration and constellation monitoring throughout floor house, and consumer segments.

The O&I contractor will get up two operations facilities positioned at authorities amenities in Grand Forks Air Power Base, North Dakota, and Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama. Moreover it should develop 14 new floor stations, or information entry factors: eight Ka-band, two S-band and 4 with optical communications.

Three satellite tv for pc producers chosen up to now for the Transport Layer Tranche 1 — Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and York Area Techniques — will function their spacecraft utilizing their very own floor stations however the O&I contractor will coordinate information site visitors and handle the command and management of the mission payloads such because the inter-satellite crosslinks and the on-orbit information processors. Transport Layer Tranche 1 satellites are projected to launch in 2024.

Two extra satellite tv for pc suppliers are anticipated to be chosen for Tranche 1 of the Monitoring Layer of missile-detecting satellites, which might launch in 2025. 

The O&I contractor should determine a standard floor structure to combine satellites from all seven distributors. This can be a advanced activity, the SDA official stated, and “carries the very best danger.” The success of Tranche 1, stated the official, relies on profitable integration of the satellites, floor techniques and consumer tools.

SDA obtained seven proposals for the O&I contract, the official stated. 

Collin Lee, director of Frontiers – an area know-how incubator for Common Dynamics Mission Techniques — stated in an announcement to table4 that the corporate’s staff brings a “lengthy heritage of mission-critical house and floor communications and networking experience to the Area Growth Company.” 

“Iridium, Common Dynamics Mission Techniques and the U.S. authorities have a protracted and profitable historical past of working collectively and partnering on this venture is a pure evolution of our relationship,” stated Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. “Iridium’s 25 years of expertise working in LEO makes us uniquely certified for this chance.”

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