This is a big step in the effort to make sure the United States is a top power in space.
There’s an organization called the Space Development Agency (SDA) and they’re working really hard to make sure the US is the best in space warfare. The SDA gets money to come up with new technology and things for space. Right now, they’re spending a lot of money to create a bunch of new satellites that will help American soldiers all around the world.
The SDA recently talked about two new “prototype agreements.” This basically means they’re going to launch a bunch of new satellites for space warfare. They’re using $1.5 billion to make and use these new satellites. These satellites are part of a larger group called the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). They’re planning to launch this group over the next few years.
The PWSA is all about having a bunch of small satellites in space. These satellites will give important services to US soldiers. They can send data quickly (low-latency data comms), keep track of missiles, and help with managing battles from space. It’s all meant to help soldiers do their jobs better.
The SDA says that they’re doing this in different steps called “tranches.” The first step was Tranche 0 which started in 2022 and went into space in April. This was like a test to show that the idea works. Tranche 1 is next in 2024 so this will let soldiers have data links in a certain area. Tranche 2, in 2026 will make sure soldiers have these links all around the world.
Two companies, Northrop Grumman Space Systems and Lockheed Martin are going to use the $1.5 billion to make and run 36 of these new satellites each. These satellites are a bit like the ones from Tranche 1 but with some extra abilities. The US will put these satellites in different spots in space so that they’re not all together. This way, if something bad happens not all the satellites will be destroyed.
The head of the SDA, Derek Tournear said in April that they’re planning to have a lot of satellites – “hundreds and hundreds.” This way even if some satellites get destroyed the whole system will keep working. He explained that these space satellites are harder to destroy than the missiles used to shoot them.
It took a bit longer to start this project because of concerns about having too many satellites and where they would go. The people in charge of aviation were worried that the satellites might interfere with planes. But eventually, they gave the okay to start.
So, the US Space Force is getting a bunch of new satellites for space warfare. It’s a big project that’s meant to help soldiers all over the world. The satellites will be hard to break and even if some get destroyed the system will keep working.
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