Lockheed Martin has been awarded an $816m contract to build 36 Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) Beta satellites to the Space Development Agency (SDA). The satellites will feature targeted technology enhancements, mission-focused payload configurations, and increased integration in a bid to advance the warfighting capabilities.

The T2TL project is part of a wider plan aimed at strengthening deterrence with more resilient space architectures for beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) targeting, data transport, and advanced missile detection and tracking.

“Tranche 2 will significantly enhance our warfighters’ capabilities and establish new levels of resiliency, connectivity, and orbital diversity that are necessary for countering future threats,” said Joe Rickers, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for protected communications. “SDA’s unique acquisition approach expedites the proliferation of this critical technology, and Lockheed Martin’s strategic partnerships with a network of suppliers and small businesses will ensure we’re aligned with SDA’s strategy for accelerated delivery.”

Small satellite deployment

T2TL Beta will consist of 72 satellites and will be deployed into orbit over a series of launches beginning in 2026. They will undergo a continuous checkout and commissioning process for acceptance into operations.

Lockheed Martin is delivering a total of at least 88 data communications satellites for SDA’s low-Earth orbit military constellation, with 10 Tranche 0 Transport Layer (T0TL) satellites set for launch this year and 42 Tranche 1 satellites launching in 2024.

The company has also opened a 20,000sqft small satellite processing centre to assemble, integrate and test smallsats. It features six parallel assembly lines and dedicated test chambers to deliver 180 satellites or more per year, and will house the T1TL and T2TL Beta satellites.

Image: Adobe Stock

Subscribe to the FINN weekly newsletter 

You may also be interested in

Smallsat market defies supply challenges to keep growing, says Euroconsult

Lockheed Martin chosen to develop nuclear-powered spacecraft