Rivada Space Networks has plans for a constellation of Ka-band satellites to provide global connectivity services. Credit: Rivada Space Networks

SAN FRANCISCO —Terran Orbital Corp. announced a $2.4 billion contract to build 300 satellites for Rivada Space Networks.

Under the contract announced Feb. 22, Terran Orbital will design, build and deploy 288 satellites in low-Earth orbit. In addition, Terran Orbital will build 12 satellite spares.

“I think this is the largest smallsat contract ever awarded in history,” Marc Bell, Terran Orbital CEO, co-founder and chairman, told SpaceNews.

Rivada Space Networks is a subsidiary of Rivada Networks, Inc., a U.S.-based wireless technology company with patents related to spectrum sharing and wireless communications technologies.

Terran Orbital, through its subsidiary Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, will act as the prime contractor for the satellites with a mass of approximately 500 kilograms apiece.

In addition to building the satellites, Terran Orbital will develop portions of the ground segment.

Rivada plans to begin deploying its constellation as early as 2025, pending regulatory approval.

“Terran Orbital is thrilled to form this new partnership with Rivada Space Networks,” Bell said in a statement. “Our partnership will show why Terran Orbital continues to be a satellite manufacturer of choice for aerospace and defense companies worldwide. We are ecstatic to work alongside Rivada and look forward to building out their LEO constellation.”

Declan Ganley, Rivada Networks chairman and CEO, said in a statement, “We at Rivada see Terran Orbital as a kindred spirit of sorts. We are delighted to have the opportunity to bring this project to fruition with them.”

In the last two years, Terran Orbital became a publicly traded company and pivoted away from cubesat manufacturing to offer 150 to 500 kilogram satellites for government customers.

While the Rivada Space Networks contract may seem like a departure from Terran Orbital’s move towards government customers, government agencies may be the eventual customers for the new communications constellation, said a space industry executive.

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...