Space Development Agency confirms SpaceX, L3Harris awards following protest

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WASHINGTON — Following a protest by Raytheon Technologies, the Space Development Agency has reevaluated awards it made for eight satellites able to monitoring hypersonic weapons, opting to stay with its unique distributors: SpaceX and L3Harris.

“The reevaluation confirmed the original selection decision announced in October and concluded that [SpaceX] and L3Harris Technologies’ proposals offered the best value to the government,” mentioned SDA spokesperson Jennifer Elzea in a Jan. 7 assertion.

The contracts for the eight satellites have been initially introduced Oct. 5. L3Harris and SpaceX have been awarded $193 million and $149 million respectively to every design and develop 4 satellites geared up with large subject of view (WFOV) overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) sensors. Those satellites would make up the company’s inaugural monitoring layer, a low Earth orbit constellation able to detecting and monitoring ballistic and hypersonic weapons.

Shortly thereafter, opponents Raytheon Technologies and Airbus U.S. Space and Defense individually filed protests towards the award with the Government Accountability Office. A cease work order was put in place, stopping L3Harris and SpaceX from transferring ahead with the contracts.

Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

In response to the protests, SDA elected to reevaluate proposals. Raytheon filed one other protest Dec. 17 claiming the company’s corrective was insufficient, however the GAO dismissed that motion as untimely. SDA accomplished its reevaluation in late December, confirming its unique awards, and on Dec. 28 the cease work order was lifted.

“SDA is confident that reevaluation resulted in a fair outcome for all involved parties,” mentioned Elzea. “The agency continues to make all efforts to keep the tracking layer of the National Defense Space Architecture on schedule.”

In dismissing Raytheon’s protest as being untimely, GAO did be aware that the corporate might nonetheless protest the company’s actions following the corrective motion. Neither Raytheon nor Airbus instantly responded to inquiries as to whether or not they could be submitting extra protests.

Back in October, SDA Director Derek Tournear advised C4ISRNET the contracts have been the results of a full and open competitors based mostly purely on technical benefit.

“SpaceX had a very credible story along that line — a very compelling proposal. It was outstanding,” he mentioned. “They are one of the ones that have been at the forefront of this commercialization and commodification route.”

In addition, “L3Harris had an extremely capable solution. They have a lot of experience flying affordable, rapid, small satellite buses for the department,” he mentioned. “They had the plant and the line in place in order to produce these to hit our schedule.”

The monitoring layer is only one aspect of the company’s National Defense Space Architecture, a deliberate mega-constellation that can ultimately be made up of tons of of satellites in low Earth orbit. SDA is utilizing a spiral growth strategy to construct out that constellation, by including extra satellites each two years. These eight satellites in query can be a part of the primary tranche, which is about to launch beginning in 2022. More monitoring layer satellites can be launched in later tranches. Tournear has beforehand acknowledged that one of many company’s priorities is avoiding vendor lock, internet hosting an open competitors for monitoring layer satellites for future tranches.

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