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US military picks two Colorado companies to develop new space communications network

The awards were made public this week by the SDA, a procurement agency of the Department of Defense.
Credit: Lockheed Martin Space
A Lockheed Martin Space rendering of what an on-orbit mesh satellite communications network might look like.

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colorado — The U.S. military’s Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded two Denver-area aerospace companies $281.5 million to start developing a new kind of communications network in orbit that’s expected to eventually grow to hundreds of satellites.

The awards were made public this week by the SDA, a procurement agency of the Department of Defense.

The contracts call for Jefferson County-based Lockheed Martin Space and Denver-based York Space Systems to develop 20 satellites to test out the beginnings of what’s called a mesh network meant to improve communications from existing satellite systems upon which U.S. warfighters and their allies depend.

The project is called the SDA’s Space Transport Layer Tranche 0 and is meant to be the start of large new space communications network. The satellites are supposed to be ready to launch in two years, by which time the SDA expects to be awarding work to build more satellites.

Read more at the Denver Business Journal

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