WASHINGTON — L3Harris announced May 2 it secured a contract to supply critical sensor technology to Millennium Space Systems for a constellation of eight satellites to be produced for the U.S. Space Force’s Space Development Agency. 

SDA announced April 30 it awarded Boeing’s subsidiary Millennium Space a $414 million contract  to build eight satellites equipped with advanced infrared and optical sensors.

The satellites are for a program called Fire-control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter (Foo Fighter), which seeks to demonstrate technologies in support of a network of low-orbit satellites being developed by SDA known as the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. 

The Foo Fighter satellites will prove out advanced sensor technology to detect and track hypersonic missile threats as part of the Pentagon’s larger missile defense architecture.

“The satellites represent a new, stand-alone program that will track specific threats not addressed by the existing tracking constellation,” L3Harris said in a statement. 

The selection of L3Harris as Millennium’s payload supplier isn’t a major surprise given the company’s expertise providing advanced electro-optical infrared sensors and payloads for numerous U.S. military and intelligence satellites, including SDA’s Tracking Layer program, which is part of the larger Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture.

Jason Kim, CEO of Millennium Space, said the company has a “strong, long-standing relationship hosting L3Harris payloads, most recently Wide Field of View. We will continue that track record on the F2 program.”

“As global threats continue to rise, these experimental Foo Fighter satellites will test new technologies to fill potential missile defense capability gaps within the Department of Defense portfolio,” said Ed Zoiss, president of L3Harris Space & Airborne Systems.

The company will manufacture the infrared payloads in Wilmington, Massachusetts.

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...