Pentagon gives private company York a $200 million spacecraft contract

A Pentagon contract worth up to $200 million has been awarded to the spacecraft manufacturer York Space Systems to construct test satellites for the military’s Space Development Agency (SDA).

York will construct and run 12 prototype satellites for the T1DES system, which will test satellite communications from low Earth orbit.
The T1DES satellites’ construction will soon get under way, according to SDA director Derek Tournear, and launches are scheduled for 2025.

On Thursday, the Pentagon revealed that York Space Systems had been awarded a contract to produce experimental satellites for the military’s Space Development Agency (SDA).

Pentagon Awards $200 Million Spacecraft Contract to Private Venture York

As an extension to the “Tranche 1 Transport Layer” (T1TL) network that SDA is already constructing, York will construct and run 12 prototype satellites to test satellite communications from low Earth orbit. This system is known as the T1DES system. Prior to now, York was awarded $328 million as a portion of a larger deal to construct satellites for T1TL.

Dirk Wallinger, founder and CEO of York, expressed his gratitude for SDA’s continuous confidence in us to assist realise their future goal in a statement.

AE Industrial Partners and BlackRock earlier this week announced new private equity ownership and investment in York. With a worth of over $1 billion, the deal makes York the newest space unicorn, as CNBC reported on Tuesday.

Work on the T1DES satellites will soon start, according to SDA Director Derek Tournear, who also announced that the program’s flight operations will last until 2031 with launches scheduled for 2025.

Tournear clarified that T1DES is experimental since it aims to use satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) to show off communication capabilities now provided by satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO).

Pentagon Awards $200 Million Spacecraft Contract to Private Venture York

In order to demonstrate that the technology can be used to move from geosynchronous to low-earth orbit (LEO), there are actually many technological obstacles that need to be overcome, according to Tournear.

Tournear stated that SDA received six bids for the T1DES contract but declined to comment on the price ranges of the other firms’ offers. Tournear claimed that “the York solution came back to be quite affordable” at less than $17 million per satellite.

Although SDA has already observed supply chain concerns from the numerous companies under contract, the Space Force acquisition group is currently concentrated on developing its Transport Layer system.

To ensure that we can obtain the materials and personnel required to deliver on schedule, Tournear said, “we continue to hunt down gremlins every day.

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