Space Development Agency Makes Awards to Build 72 Beta Variant Satellites for Tranche 2 Transport Layer

Date: August 21, 2023

Agency selects initial Tranche 2 team members to produce first of several variants of data relay and tactical communication space vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Space Development Agency (SDA) today announced the awards of two prototype agreements with a total value of approximately $1.5 billion to build and operate the Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) – Beta variant prototype constellation, consisting of 72 satellites, which will form the foundation of Tranche 2 of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

SDA awarded these firm-fixed priced Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements to Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Redondo Beach, California, and Lockheed Martin Corp., Littleton, Colorado, to each build and operate 36 T2TL – Beta prototype constellation satellites – in three orbital planes of 12 satellites each, with the first plane ready for launch by September 2026.

The T2TL – Beta space vehicles will provide global communications access and deliver persistent global encrypted connectivity to support missions like beyond line of sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advance missile threats.

“We are now solidly in the procurement phase for Tranche 2 of the PWSA to support a 2026 delivery,” said Derek Tournear, SDA director. “Tranche 2 brings global persistence for all our capabilities in Tranche 1 and adds advanced tactical data links and future proliferated missions. The Beta variant of the Tranche 2 Transport Layer vehicles are similar to Tranche 1 Transport Layer vehicles while also integrating advanced tactical communication technology demonstrated by the Tranche 1 Development and Experimentation System (T1DES).”

 SDA received and evaluated the proposals under an Other Transaction Authorities solicitation, SDA-PS-23-03. The Northrop Grumman Space Systems prototype agreement has a total value of approximately $733 million. The SDA is the agreement activity (FA24012390041). The Lockheed Martin Corp. prototype agreement has a total value of approximately $816 million. The SDA is the agreement activity (FA24012390042).

The T2TL features multiple space vehicle and mission configuration variants procured through a multi-solicitation and multi-vendor acquisition approach.

The PWSA Transport Layer will provide multi-band global communications access and persistent encrypted connectivity for warfighter missions. The Transport Layer will be the space backbone for the Joint All Domain Command and Control (JADC2) infrastructure with low-latency data transport, sensor-to-shooter connectivity, and tactical satellite communication (TACSATCOM) direct to platform.

About the Space Development Agency. 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