SpaceX secures a $149 million U.S. Military contract to build missile tracking satellites

SpaceX won a $149 million contract to develop missile-tracking satellites for the U.S. Military Space Development Agency (SDA), according to a financial document released by the Pentagon Department of Defense on October 2nd.

SDA Director Derek Tournear told SpaceNews that SpaceX “came in with an extremely credible proposal” to build the Starlink bus design-based satellites. For its broadband internet network, SpaceX manufactures Starlink satellites at a facility situated in Redmond, Washington. SpaceX officials have previously said that 120 satellites are produced every month. Tournear told reporters that the company had been chosen for its ability to quickly produce satellites.

Under the SDA contract, SpaceX will develop four satellites for the military using its Starlink manufacturing facility. These satellites are called “Tracking Layer Tranche 0” and will be fitted with a subcontractor-supplied wide-angle infrared missile-tracking sensor. Satellites would be able to detect real-time intercontinental ballistic missiles and track them for interception with high precision.

SDA has awarded L3Harris a contract worth $193.5 million to develop four satellites in low Earth orbit that will also be part of the U.S. military’s missile-tracking satellite constellation.

All eight of both companies’ satellites are expected to be ready for launch by fall 2022.

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