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Space Development Agency Completes Second Successful Launch of Tranche 0 Satellites

SDA delivers 13 additional satellites on orbit for Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture demonstrations

Date: September 2, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Space Development Agency (SDA) today announced the second successful launch of space vehicles from the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). The launch included Transport and Tracking Layer satellites that will demonstrate low-latency tactical data links to deliver space-based capabilities to the warfighter, including tracking of advanced missile threats, through a resilient constellation in low-Earth orbit (LEO).   

The next 13 of the 28 Tranche 0 satellites launched aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 reusable rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The final manifest included 10 Transport satellites from Lockheed Martin Space, one Transport satellite from York Space Systems, and two Tracking satellites from SpaceX.

The launch vehicle deployed the satellites into an insertion orbit where SDA will begin test and checkout procedures, which will eventually include orbit raising to reach the intended orbit at approximately 1,000 km. Tranche 0 ground support is provided by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. 

A third and final group of four Tranche 0 Tracking satellites are scheduled to launch aboard a planned Missile Defense Agency launch later this year. With the full constellation on orbit, Tranche 0 will include 19 optically-connected data transport satellites and eight missile warning/missile tracking satellites equipped with wide-field-of-view sensors. One Tranche 0 Transport Layer satellite remains on the ground to serve as a software testbed.

“I’m very pleased with the initial operation of the first group of satellites we launched in April,” said Derek Tournear, SDA director. “Through these first two T0 launches, we’ve demonstrated that SDA can keep a schedule to deliver enhanced capabilities every two years. While the launch is very exciting news, it’s what we will demonstrate on orbit that really matters— the ability to provide the warfighter with tactical data links, beyond line of sight targeting, and the missile warning/missile tracking of advanced missiles.”

In August 2020, SDA awarded firm-fixed-price T0 Transport satellite contracts resulting in a cost of approximately $15 million per satellite. The agency began fielding Transport satellites approximately 30 months from order to orbit. Additionally, SDA awarded the T0 Tracking satellite contracts in October 2020, moving from order to orbit in approximately 27 months.

Tranche 0 will demonstrate the feasibility of the following:

  • Low latency data connectivity
  • Beyond line of sight targeting
  • Missile warning/missile tracking
  • On-orbit fusion
  • Multi-phenomenology ground-based sensor fusion

SDA has begun the build phase of Tranche 1 satellites and plans to field the first operational generation of the PWSA beginning in late 2024. Tranche 1 will include approximately 150 Transport and Tracking satellites. Tranche 1 will be operated by SDA’s groundbreaking space operations centers based heavily on commercial space operations models.

About the Space Development Agency. As part of the U.S. Space Force, SDA is recognized as DOD’s constructive disruptor for space acquisition. SDA will accelerate delivery of needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding, and operation of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. For more information on SDA, contact or visit