Tag Archive for: L3Harris

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.

L3Harris has selected Maxar Technologies to supply 14 satellite buses and provide support services as a subcontractor to them.

Maxar Technologies announced earlier this month that it was selected by L3Harris to manufacture 14 missile-detection satellites for the U.S. Space Development Agency.

DoD’s space agency last month announced it awarded L3Harris Technologies and Northrop Grumman contracts to each build 14 missile-tracking satellites for a low Earth orbit constellation known as the Tracking Layer Tranche 1.  L3Harris won a $700 million contract.

The 28 infrared-sensing satellites will be part of a global network of eyes in the sky the Pentagon will use to detect and track the latest generation of ballistic and hypersonic missiles being developed by countries like Russia and China. 

“This is a big win,” Maxar CEO Daniel Jablonsky said during a second-quarter earnings call. He called the agreement with L3Harris a validation of Maxar’s strategy to pursue national security satellite contracts to diversify its mostly commercial-only business.

Maxar will supply satellite buses and provide support services as a subcontractor to L3Harris. The company did not disclose the value of the contract. Jablonsky said it’s a fixed-price deal for Maxar’s new “workhorse PLEO” bus, designed for proliferated low Earth orbit constellations and based on an earlier design the company bid for the Telesat constellation.

The contract with L3Harris also covers the integration of mission payloads, including optical terminals for mesh networking, Ka-band communications and infrared sensors. Maxar will manufacture the buses at its factories in Palo Alto and San Jose, California, for delivery in 2024. Launches are scheduled to begin in April 2025.

“This program demonstrates that Maxar is primed to handle a diverse set of missions,” said Chris Johnson, Maxar senior vice president and general manager of space. 

Rob Mitrevski, vice president and general manager of spectral solutions at L3Harris, said the company considered the Maxar platform a good fit for SDA’s Tracking Layer. “Developing and manufacturing commoditized, commercially available spacecraft for the national defense space architecture is key for the Space Development Agency.”