Northrop Grumman Targets 2025 for Military Satellite Launch

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Aerospace and defense company Northrop Grumman provided an update on its development of a geostationary communications satellite.

The U.S. Space Force tasked Northrop Grumman with creating Protected Tactical Satcom prototype payloads in 2020. The company will compete with Boeing in the military procurement process. Both designs passed government review and received clearance for on-orbit demonstrations scheduled for 2025.

The Protected Tactical Satcom prototype will attempt to offer uninterrupted transmission, even during jamming threats, for Advanced Extremely High-Frequency satellites used for classified communications.

According to Blake Bullock, the vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Strategic Space Systems division, the company’s independent satellite will fly on spacecraft built on an ESPAStar-HP satellite bus. Bullock added that the satellite would launch into orbit on a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket. The Boeing prototype will launch as a hosted payload on the Space Force’s Wideband Global Satcom WGS-11 satellite.

The Department of Defense requested $360 million for the Protected Tactical Satcom program in the fiscal year 2024 and expects to spend up to $2.4 billion by 2028.

The competition is expected to continue for several years. However, once the Space Force completes its evaluation of both versions, it will support one or both for launches in fiscal years 2028 and 2029.

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