Terran Orbital is producing satellite buses for the Space Development Agency's Transport Layer of small satellites in low Earth orbit. Credit: Terran Orbital
Lockheed Martin is buying buses from Terran Orbital for the Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer
WASHINGTON — Terran Orbital announced Dec. 22 it has completed delivery of 10 satellite buses ordered by Lockheed Martin for the Space Development Agency’s mesh network in low Earth orbit. The first satellite bus was delivered in May.
Lockheed Martin in August 2020 won a $187.5 million contract from the Space Development Agency (SDA) to produce 10 communications satellites for the Transport Layer Tranche 0.
The Tranche 0 constellation will provide secure high-bandwidth, low-latency data links for military users.
Terran Orbital, based in Boca Raton, Florida, in October announced Lockheed Martin made a $100 million investment in the company that will be used to expand Terran Orbital’s satellite manufacturing facilities in Irvine, California.
Lockheed Martin also selected Terran Orbital as its satellite bus supplier for the Transport Layer Tranche 1, a much larger constellation of satellites made by Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and York Space.
Lockheed Martin’s Tranche 0 satellites are projected to launch in June.
The expansion of manufacturing capacity in Irvine is intended to help meet a 2024 deadline to deliver 42 buses for SDA’s Tranche 1 under a $700 million contract.
Terran Orbital CEO Marc Bell said the delivery of Tranche 0 satellites coincides with the company’s “shift from lower quantity, mission-unique satellites to robust production.”
This fall Terran Orbital announced it would abandon plans to build a constellation of 96 synthetic aperture radar satellites, called PredaSAR, in order to focus on the production of satellites for U.S. defense and national security customers. The company also formed a new business unit that will produce electro-optical imaging satellites.