Northrop Grumman to Develop Satellites with Infrared Sensors for the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer

Constellation will accelerate national defense capabilities against hypersonic and advanced missile threats

Redondo Beach, Calif. July 18, 2022 Photo(s): By Northrop Grumman
T1TRK will detect, identify and track hypersonic weapons and other advanced missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception.

Northrop Grumman Corporation has won a competition to build and deploy a proliferated low-Earth orbit constellation of 14 satellites with infrared sensors for the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 1 Tracking Layer (T1TRK).

T1TRK will detect, identify and track hypersonic weapons and other advanced missiles from their earliest stages of launch through interception. Northrop Grumman will leverage its experience with the Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL), to provide a resilient, low-latency, high-volume network in space to support U.S. military missions around the world. In May, Northrop Grumman successfully completed a System Requirements Review for T1TL – another element of SDA’s National Defense Space Architecture.

“Northrop Grumman will provide an integrated space vehicle that will accelerate our nation’s ability to defend against the most pressing challenges in missile defense,” said Robert Fleming, Northrop’s Vice President and General Manager of the Strategic Space Systems Division. “T1TRK builds upon Northrop Grumman’s experience with T1TL and will demonstrate a capability to track advanced missile threats.”

Once deployed in 2025, the T1TRK satellites will operate in up to four low-Earth orbital planes, interconnected with T1TL satellites. Each will feature a wide field-of-view infrared sensor, three optical communications terminals, and a Ka-band payload for communications.

“Flowing from our values as an organization prioritizing schedule, then cost, the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer went from solicitation to award in approximately 120 days and continues to demonstrate the Space Development Agency’s ability to acquire capabilities at speed,” said SDA director, Derek Tournear. “We look forward to collaborating with our industry partners to quickly deliver missile warning/missile tracking capabilities as part of the Department of Defense hybrid architecture that will provide critical and timely information to the joint warfighter in the very near future.”