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Derek Tournear on SDA’s Integration Into Space Force

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Derek Tournear
Derek Tournear

Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency, said the Department of Defense should launch and demonstrate first the initial tranche of a proliferated satellite architecture before integrating SDA into the U.S. Space Force, National Defense reported Thursday.

SDA expects the Tranche 0 satellites of the proliferated National Defense Space Architecture in low-Earth orbit to be deployed by the end of fiscal year 2022 and reach the demonstration phase by FY 2023. The agency issued a request for information on potential Tranche 0 launch service providers in May.

“We need enough runway to be able to demonstrate that military utility,” Tournear said at a SmallSat Alliance-hosted virtual discussion. “We have to be able to demonstrate that constructive disruption first.”

He said he believes the first tranche of satellites could demonstrate its military functionality by 2023 and that if DoD officials should wait for that prior to the integration, "there will be enough … critical mass at that point and enough pull on the capabilities that it won't be stopped."

SDA officially launched in March 2019 and is expected to be integrated into the Space Force by October 2022.