Space Development Agency Makes Third Award to Build 18 Additional Beta Variant Satellites for Tranche 2 Transport Layer

Agency selects new Tranche 2 team member to produce variant of data relay and tactical communication space vehicles

Date: Jan. 8, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Space Development Agency (SDA) today announced the award of a prototype agreement with a total value of approximately $515 million to build and operate 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) – Beta variant prototype space vehicles, which will join the previously-awarded 72 Beta space vehicles to form the foundation of Tranche 2 of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

SDA awarded the firm-fixed priced Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreement to Rocket Lab National Security LLC, Long Beach, California, to deliver and operate a T2TL – Beta prototype constellation in two orbital planes of nine satellites each, launching no later than July 2027.

“We welcome Rocket Lab as the newest member of Team SDA and our third performer on the T2TL- Beta program,” said Derek Tournear, SDA director. “Their selection as a new prime and bus provider demonstrates SDA’s dedication to our mission, which includes development of a growing, innovative marketplace necessary to sustain SDA’s proliferated architecture on two-year spirals.”    

In August 2023, SDA signed two OTA agreements, with a total value of approximately $1.5 billion to build 72 T2TL – Beta variant space vehicles. The earlier planes of the T2TL – Beta constellation will begin to launch in September 2026. The third award increases the size of the T2TL – Beta constellation to 90 SVs. The constellation will provide global communication 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.

SDA determined the need to move some satellites from the planned Gamma variant to the Beta program to support mission utility through further proliferation of tactical satellite communication (TACSATCOM) capabilities. The additional 18 T2TL-Beta SVs will be operated from lower inclination orbits than the first 72 T2TL – Beta SVs. This enhances the overall robustness of the capability delivered by the T2TL SVs.

The T2TL features multiple space vehicle and mission configuration variants procured through a multi-solicitation and multi-vendor acquisition approach. In October 2023, SDA completed awards for 100 T2TL – Alpha variant SVs, which will provide global communications to support missions like beyond-line-of-sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advance missile threats as part of the PWSA. SDA expects to release the T2TL Gama solicitation later next year. SDA is currently in the source selection phase for T2 Tracking Layer.

Once completely fielded, Tranche 2 will provide global persistence for all capabilities in Tranche 1 plus demonstration of advanced tactical data links and future proliferated missions. The T2 constellation will consist of approximately 270 operational Transport and Tracking Layer satellites.

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 TACSATCOM direct to platform.

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