Space Force’s first six missile-defense satellites in medium orbit to cost about $500 million

Notional graphic of MEO missile tracking Epoch 1 satellites. Credit: Millennium Space

By Sandra Erwin,
Published by Space News, 18 December 2023

The Space Systems Command last month selected Millennium Space Systems to produce six satellites

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force awarded Millennium Space Systems contracts worth $509.5 million for the first six satellites of a medium Earth orbit constellation to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles. 

The selection of Millennium Space as a satellite supplier for the Space Force’s medium Earth orbit (MEO) network of space sensors was announced last month but the value of the contract was not released at the time. 

A spokesperson for the Space Systems Command said Millennium Space has been awarded contracts totaling $509.5 million for the production and delivery of six Epoch 1 satellites.  

These are small spacecraft built on Millennium Space’s Altair satellite bus

“In addition, Millennium is delivering command and control and mission data processing systems required to operate these satellites,” the spokesperson said in a statement to SpaceNews. ‘The full contract also includes additional award options to support launch activities and up to five additional years of on-orbit operations.  If awarded, these options would add an additional $123.4 million.”

Satellite passed key review in November

The Space Systems Command announced Nov. 27 that Millennium’s proposed satellite passed a critical design review and the company will begin manufacturing hardware for delivery and launch in late 2026.

The MEO missile tracking constellation, projected to have as many as 27 satellites, is designed for enhanced coverage and detection capabilities to supplement existing systems in geosynchronous orbits.  

Millennium Space, a Boeing-owned company based in El Segundo, California, specializes in small satellites and rapid prototyping.

Other companies competing for future MEO satellite orders include RTX and L3Harris. 

See: Original Article