WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force awarded Parsons a $55 million contract to develop a ground system for a network of missile-warning satellites in medium Earth orbit.

The ground system is for a constellation of six satellites that the Space Force plans to field in MEO in 2026 to detect and track hypersonic missiles. Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon Technologies are developing the satellites.

“Parsons will provide integrated ground and operations solutions for the MTC Epoch 1 program,” the Space Systems Command said May 16 in a news release.

MTC is short for missile warning, missile tracking, missile track custody.

“We will collect and seamlessly integrate our MEO data into the existing missile warning architecture, providing the warfighter with accurate data to defeat both traditional and emerging missile threats,” said Col. Heather Bogstie, senior materiel leader at Space Systems Command.

She said the Epoch 1 satellites will deliver “high-fidelity overhead persistent infrared solutions capable of defending against traditional missile threats, as well as fast-moving and dim targets like  hypersonic ballistic missiles.”

Satellites to launch in 2026

The plan is to launch at least six MTC Epoch 1 missile-warning satellites by late 2026, said Lt. Col. Raydon “Ray” Imbo, materiel leader for MEO ground systems. 

Although satellites are made by two different vendors, the constellation will be managed as a single system, he said. 

A MEO space operations center will be located in Colorado. Parsons has previously developed several ground systems for U.S. military satellites.

Col. Heather Bogstie, senior materiel leader, Space Systems Command’s Resilient Missile Warning, Tracking, and Defense Acquisition Delta.

In a statement to SpaceNews, Bogstie said both Millennium Space Systems and Raytheon are on contract for “one initial satellite each with the option to quickly acquire up to three additional satellites pending proven and matured designs. Our space and ground efforts are moving in parallel. The ground system is being designed to support at least six satellites in Epoch 1.”

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...