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Pentagon awards USD1.3 billion for PWSA prototype development

A SpaceX Falcon 9 loaded with a Tranche 0 payload variant for the Space Development Agency's Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) sits on the launch pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. (Space Development Agency)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has closed the second of two prototype development contracts for the next phase of the Space Development Agency's (SDA's) Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) development, bringing the total cost of both contracts to USD1.3 billion, according to a 30 October agency statement.

The DoD's SDA inked a USD732 million deal with Northrop Grumman Space Systems to develop, deliver, and operate 38 low Earth orbit (LEO) space vehicles (SVs) for the Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Alpha (T2TL-Alpha) phase of the PWSA, SDA officials said in the statement. Along with SV development, the Northrop Grumman deal will also finance prototype work for “associated ground systems and operations and sustainment capability” tied to the 38 T2TL-Alpha SVs, they added.

The 30 October SDA statement on the Northrop Grumman deal came less than a month after agency officials finalised the first of the two T2TL-Alpha prototype contracts with Colorado-based York Space Systems. That USD617 million contract covered the development, fielding, and operation of 62 T2TL-Alpha SVs and associated subsystems.

“The T2TL-Alpha constellation will provide global communications access and deliver persistent, regional, and encrypted connectivity to support missions like beyond-line-of-sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advanced missile threats”, including potential hypersonic weapons, SDA officials said. The initial launch for the T2TL-Alpha SVs is expected no later than December 2026, they added.

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