Maxar to aid L3Harris in tracking missiles from space

WASHINGTON — Maxar Technologies will build 14 spacecraft platforms for L3Harris Technologies as part of a Pentagon program for tracking missile threats, including from hypersonic systems, Maxar announced Tuesday.

The Space Development Agency announced last month that L3Harris and Northrop Grumman had each won a contract to produce 14 satellites for the Tranche 1 Tracking Layer in low Earth orbit. These satellites are designed to warn of and track missiles launches.

The United States, Russia and China are among countries developing hypersonic missiles, which can exceed the speed of sound and are harder to track than conventional missiles.

The Maxar-provided platforms will carry “various mission payloads, including optical terminals for space mesh networking, Ka-band communications, and infrared sensors,” according to Tuesday’s statement.

Maxar will manufacture the platforms in Palo Alto and San Jose, California, and will delivery them in 2024, with launches to begin in April 2025, according to the release.

Maxar did not provide a contract value for the deal with L3Harris, whose contract with the Defense Department has a potential value of about $700 million.

Based in Westminster, Colorado, Maxar provides space technology and geospatial intelligence to both government and commercial customers.

Irene Loewenson is an editorial fellow at Military Times and Defense News. A native New Yorker, she is a recent graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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