Military Embedded Systems

Software-defined small satellites to be built by Lockheed Martin for SDA


March 01, 2022

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Lockheed Martin photo.

BETHESDA, Md. The Space Development Agency (SDA) has awarded Lockheed Martin a prototype agreement with a potential value of approximately $700 million to design and build 42 small satellites (small sats).

These satellites are part of Tranche 1, the initial warfighting capability of the agency’s Transport Layer, which will aim to connect space with other domains on Earth in a highly capable, networked environment of Joint All-Domain Operations.

According to company officials, the mesh network of software-defined small sats will be designed to link terrestrial warfighting domains to space sensors, intended to allow warfighters much faster access to data in hopes of staying ahead of emerging threats. 

As part of this tranche, SDA is developing a prototype constellation of up to 126 space vehicles divided into six orbital planes. Lockheed Martin will develop 42 of those space vehicles for the Transport Layer constellation, which will provide connectivity worldwide to a full range of warfighter platforms using Link-16 antennas and laser Optical Intersatellite Links. Link-16 will connect systems systems like fighter aircraft and air-and-missile defense capabilities.



Featured Companies

Lockheed Martin

6801 Rockledge Drive
Bethesda, MD 20817