100 Satellites Under Development for the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 2 Transport Layer

(Image: Space Development Agency)

The Space Development Agency (SDA) on Oct. 30 announced a new $617 million agreement with Denver, Colorado-based York Space Systems to deliver and operate 62 T2TL – Alpha space vehicles (SVs) in eight orbital planes, along with the associated ground systems and operations and sustainment capability. The agreement is part of a pair of prototyping agreements potentially worth $1.3 billion to build and operate the Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) – Alpha variant prototype constellation, consisting of 100 satellites.

The T2TL- Alpha constellation will provide global communications access and encrypted connectivity to support missions like beyond-line-of-sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advance missile threats as part of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. The first orbital plane of the T2TL-Alpha constellation will be launched no later than September 2026.

“The T2TL Alpha awards demonstrate our forward momentum in the procurement phase for Tranche 2 of the PWSA to support delivery beginning in 2026,” said Derek Tournear, director of SDA. “With the Beta variant and now the Alpha constellation, we’ll have more than 170 T2TL satellites on order. SDA is leading the DoD into launching proliferated constellations into low- Earth orbit to enhance responsiveness, resilience, survivability, and warfighting capability beyond our current space systems architecture.”

In addition to the York Space Systems agreement, SDA awarded a firm-fixed-price OTA agreement with a total potential value of approximately $732 million to Northrop Grumman Space Systems to deliver and operate 38 T2TL – Alpha SVs in two orbital planes, along with the associated ground systems and operations and sustainment capability.

The T2TL features multiple space vehicle and mission configuration variants procured through a multi-solicitation and multi-vendor acquisition approach.

In August 2023, SDA completed awards for 72 T2TL Beta variant SVs, which form the foundation of the Tranche 2 data transport mission. SDA is currently in the source selection phase for T2 Tracking Layer. SDA expects to release the T2TL Gama solicitation later this year. Once completely fielded, Tranche 2 will provide global persistence for all capabilities in Tranche 1 plus demonstration of advanced tactical data link(s) and future proliferated missions. The T2 constellation will consist of approximately 270 operational Transport and Tracking Layer satellites.

The PWSA Transport Layer will provide multi-band global communications access and persistent encrypted connectivity for warfighter missions. The Transport Layer will be the space backbone for the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) infrastructure with low-latency data transport, sensor-to-shooter connectivity, and tactical satellite communication (TACSATCOM) direct to platform.