American aerospace and defense technology company Northrop Grumman has selected Airbus to provide satellites and support services under a US government program to boost space defense architecture.
Airbus said in a release that it had been contracted to provide Northrop Grumman with 42 satellite platforms as well as assembly, integration, and test (AIT), launch, and space vehicle commissioning support services for the U.S. Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 1 Transport Layer prototype constellation (T1TL) .
The Transport Layer forms part of SDA’s National Defense Space Architecture and provides assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to a full range of defense applications.
While Airbus is a European manufacturer, its Airbus US Space & Defense unit operates under a Special Security Arrangement to provide solutions to the US government.
Airbus said the latest award shows its commitment to the continued expansion of its Florida facility and investment in the Space Coast in support of US Government and commercial space missions.
“The SDA Tranche 1 Transport Layer is a critical national security program, and we are honored to support Northrop Grumman and the Space Development Agency,” President and CEO of Airbus US Space and Defense Rob Geckle said in a statement.
“This award underscores Airbus U.S.’s mission to develop and deliver, in the U.S., technology critical to the U.S. warfighter,” Geckle added.
Derived from the flight-proven ARROW platform, the Airbus solution expands on its commoditized satellite bus design providing more power and a larger payload accommodation. According to Airbus, this modular solution offers a scalable 300-500 kg bus for the Northrop Grumman payload and future U.S. Government missions.
Airbus will utilize Airbus OneWeb Satellites (AOS), the Airbus U.S. and OneWeb joint venture in Merritt Island, Florida, to assemble it using its production line.