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Tranche 2 Transport Layer Beta to Bring Warfighter-Requested Capabilities to Low Earth Orbit

Data transport satellites

Tranche 2 Transport Layer Beta to Bring Warfighter-Requested Capabilities to Low Earth Orbit

The 72 satellites comprising the Beta portion of the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 2 Transport Layer constellation will carry payloads enabling the Integrated Broadcast Service, a legacy Department of Defense network involved in the transmission of intelligence and targeting data from multiple sources.

IBS payloads have historically operated in geosynchronous orbit. T2TL Beta will bring the capability to low Earth orbit, a feat that has never been done before and poses a “difficult problem”, Frank Turner, the technical director at the SDA, said at the ExecutiveBiz Space Technologies Forum on Aug. 29.

Turner noted, however, that IBS and the other payloads and capabilities that T2TL Beta will provide — including S-band and ultra high frequency communications and direct-to-weapon connectivity — were requested by warfighters themselves, SpaceNews reported.

The T2TL Beta satellites are being developed by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Lockheed received an $816 million SDA contract to build 36 spacecraft while Northrop received a $733 million contract, also to build 36 spacecraft.

The satellites are expected to be launched beginning September 2026.

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Category: Space

Tags: data transport satellites Frank Turner space Space Development Agency SpaceNews Tranche 2 Transport Layer