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Derek Tournear: SDA’s Tracking Layer Constellation to Inform NC3 Network

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Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency and a previous Wash100 awardee, said the agency is working on the possible integration of the Tracking Layer data into the military’s nuclear command, control and communications system, Breaking Defense reported Friday.

While the executive has yet to define a timeframe for certifying SDA’s constellation of low Earth orbit satellites as sensors for the NC3 integrated tactical warning and attack assessment system, he has nonetheless expressed confidence in meeting the program’s two key requirements.

Tournear stated that the NC3 sensors must “have the right probability of false alarms and probability of false detections” and maintain the proper resilience to continue working in case of a nuclear attack.

According to the official, SDA’s planned satellite constellation will detect missile threats from the LEO layer, supplementing similar missile warning and tracking satellites in medium Earth orbit from the Space Systems Command.

“It cuts down [false warnings] and gives you higher confidence. So I’m not worried at all about meeting that aspect of it,” Tournear commented.

For the second requirement, Tourner said, the SDA is working with partners to ensure that Tracking Layer’s “overall architecture can continue to perform and provide these needs under a nuclear strike.”