Senator Richard Shelby instrumental in securing FY22 funding to help SDA locate the Operations and Integration centers at Redstone Arsenal and Grand Forks Air Force Base
SDA awarded a $324.5 million contract to General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) on May 26 to operate the ground systems and manage network operations of the Space Development Agency’s low Earth orbit constellation. General Dynamics teamed with Iridium Communications, KSAT, Emergent and Raytheon. The scope of the contract is broad, including network management and constellation monitoring across ground space, and user segments.
Redstone Arsenal will be one of two operational centers for a future ground Operations and Integration (O&I) segment of the National Defense Space Architecture. The center will be used to operate SDA’s constellation of satellites, known as the National Defense Space Architecture (NDSA), which provide high speed tactical data transport and support resilient missile warning and missile tracking as part of the Department’s pivot to a multi-orbit, resilient missile warning, missile tracking, and missile defense architecture.
SDA’s sites were chosen intentionally to be not only separate from other space operations activities, but to align directly with the end user organizations. Redstone end users include the Missile Defense Agency, US Army Space and Missile Defense Command, APNT/S CFT and possibly USSPACECOM.
Work will be performed at various contractor facilities for development; operational work will be performed at SDA’s Networking and Operations Centers, located at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Alabama and at Grand Forks Air Force Base, Grand Forks, North Dakota. SDA plans to revitalize a current facility (8400sqft) on Redstone at a cost of roughly $4-5M.
The two sites demonstrate a unique, commercial model for proliferated constellation operations, through a Government-owned, Contractor-operated approach, while offering the needed protection of being on a military installation. The network will develop 14 new ground stations, or data entry points: eight Ka-band, two S-band and four with optical communications.
The seven-year contract is for $162.9 million as a baseline, with $161.5 million in options to establish the ground operations and integration (O&I) segment for SDA’s Tranche 1 constellation, a mesh network projected to have as many as 166 communications, data-relay and sensor satellites to support military users around the world.
The base contract runs from May 2022 until January 2025, and options would extend the contract until September 2029.
The Space Development Agency was created to accelerate delivery of needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter through development, fielding, and operation of a constellation of hundreds of satellites primarily in low-Earth orbit called the National Defense Space Architecture.
-by Mike Ward
Senior VP, Government & Public Affairs
Huntsville/Madison County Chamber