SDA Prioritizes Missile Tracking, Satellite Links

July 9, 2019

Breaking Defense:

WASHINGTON: At its first industry day July 23, the Space Development Agency (SDA) likely will focus on only a small subset of capabilities included in its “Next-Generation Architecture” request for information (RFI) — reflecting the more limited approach of Pentagon Research and Engineering chief Mike Griffin to develop constellations of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

Insiders and industry observers say that Griffin scrapped the idea of moving out rapidly to solicit commercial capabilities across the architecture’s seven mission layers. Instead, Griffin wants to prioritize what he has described from the beginning as SDA’s primary focus: using LEO-based smallsats for advanced missile tracking including hypersonics, and for creating a so-called Space Transport Layer.

The SDA’s July 1 RFI explains the Space Transport Layer as follows: “Global, persistent, low-latency data and communications proliferated ‘mesh’ network to provide 24×7 global communications.”

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