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SDA Eyes New Acquisition Approach for National Defense Space Architecture; Derek Tournear Quoted

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Derek Tournear
Derek Tournear

The Space Development Agency plans to launch the first batch of dozens of satellites by fiscal year 2022 to provide initial capabilities and have a thousand satellites by FY 2026 in low-Earth orbit as part of its proposed National Defense Space Architecture, C4ISRNET reported Tuesday.

“We have a completely different model for doing space acquisitions than the department has historically done. We’re going to fly new tranches every two years. Tranche 0 is the prototype for Tranche 1, which is the prototype for Tranche 2, etc.,” SDA Director Derek Tournear told reporters Tuesday at a media roundtable. “We’re taking technology that is available to fly within 18-24 months, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do for each of the tranches.”

Tournear said the agency expects to have enough orbiting satellites by FY 2024 to provide regional persistence. “The satellites are designed to last for five years, so you won’t replace all of the satellites on those two year tranches, but you’ll add new capabilities and then the satellites will be replenished basically in two and a half tranche cycles,” he added.

The space architecture is composed of seven layers: transport; battle management; tracking; custody; navigation; deterrence; and support layers. SDA expects to release solicitations for the transport and tracking layers this spring with plans to award contracts by the summer of 2020.

SDA issued a broad agency announcement Tuesday asking industry to submit executive summaries and proposals for novel concepts and capabilities in support of the NDSA.