WASHINGTON — L3Harris Technologies announced Sept. 20 that the Space Development Agency has approved the company’s proposed design for a missile tracking satellite.

The Defense Department’s Space Development Agency in October selected L3Harris and SpaceX to each produce four missile-tracking satellites that will be part of a larger constellation of space infrared sensors that will detect and track hypersonic and ballistic missiles from low Earth orbit.

L3Harris received a $193.5 million contract and SpaceX a $149 million contract. These contracts are for work to be performed through 2025. SDA said it plans to launch the first batch of missile-tracking satellites in 2023. 

The satellite offered by L3Harris cleared what is known as a “preliminary design review,” a Defense Department procurement milestone that allows a system to move forward to the next phase of development.  

“We’ve worked closely with SDA to ensure our design taps proven technology that can scale to address the changing mission,” said Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space and Airborne Systems. 

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...