The U.S. Space Force has awarded L3Harris Technologies a $29 million contract to design a sensor payload for tracking hypersonic missiles from medium Earth orbit. This contract positions L3Harris as a potential third vendor in the MTC Epoch 1 program, which focuses on missile warning, missile tracking, and missile track custody.
Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon Technologies have already been selected by the Space Force to design sensors for MTC Epoch 1. The inclusion of missile-detection satellites in medium Earth orbit is part of the layered missile defense system of the United States, which currently involves ground, sea-based, and space sensors. The low Earth orbit layer is the responsibility of the Space Development Agency and the Missile Defense Agency.
L3Harris is already contracted to produce low Earth orbit missile-tracking satellites for the Space Development Agency and the Missile Defense Agency. The addition of a third vendor like L3Harris helps reduce risk and non-recurring engineering not only for MTC Epoch 1 but also for future epochs, as stated by Col. Heather Bogstie, senior materiel leader for resilient missile warning, tracking, and defense at Space Systems Command.
The agreement between the Space Systems Command and L3Harris Technologies for the design of a sensor payload was funded by a congressional add-on. The one-year “Other Transaction” agreement allows L3Harris to design the sensor payload, and if successful, the Space Systems Command will have the option to purchase up to three payloads and satellites.
Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon Technologies are already under contract for one initial satellite each, with the option to acquire up to three additional satellites once their designs are proven and matured.
Additionally, Parsons was awarded a $55 million contract for the Epoch 1 ground system last month.
The planned constellation for MTC Epoch 1 consists of at least six satellites, which will be deployed in medium Earth orbit starting in late 2026.