Pentagon awards SpaceX with first satellite launch contract in 2021

Pentagon awards SpaceX with first satellite launch contract in 2021

The last day of the past year brought SpaceX a $ 150 million contract to launch satellites for the US Space Development Agency. The agency was created in 2019 to fend off threats from space and to ensure technological and military superiority. Under the contract, SpaceX will launch 28 satellites into orbit by the end of 2021. These will be the first spacecraft in the future US global military satellite network for monitoring and control tasks.

Under the contract, SpaceX will launch two groups of satellites, 14 each, into two circular circumpolar orbits at an altitude of 950 km. Twenty out of 28 satellites belong to the formation of the so-called transport layer in orbit, the remaining eight are satellites for warning about missile launches, in particular, for tracking hypersonic missiles. Transport layer satellites must provide data transmission over optical communication channels between themselves and communication with control nodes.

According to the plans of the Space Development Agency, about a hundred satellites of the transport layer should be deployed by 2024. The first of them, as we now know, will be put into orbit by SpaceX. In 2020, SpaceX made 25 successful launches and was awarded a contract offering the best conditions for cost and other critical tender parameters. SpaceX also won the Agency’s tender for the manufacture of four transport layer satellites, but due to the protest of competitors, the work was temporarily suspended.

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