Falcon 9 launches “Tranche 0” military tracking and data relay satellites from Vandenberg

by | Apr 3, 2023 | Launches, Military space, Seradata News, SpaceX

SpaceX successfully launched a Falcon 9v1.2FT Block 5 rocket from Vandenberg, California, USA at 1529 GMT on 2 April 2023 on a mission for the Space Development Agency. The SDA-0A dubbed launch was carrying a pair of “Tracking Layer” spacecraft, SV1 and SV2,  built by SpaceX as part of the “Tranche 0” constellation.  Also aboard were eight “transport” satellites dubbed Transport Layer Tranche 0 SV1 – SV8 which were built by York Space. The reusable B1075 first stage, on its second flight, landed on Landing Zone 4 back at the launch site. The satellites were reportedly put into a 941 x 952 km orbit at  81.0 degrees inclination.  The satellites are believed to be involved in tracking the plumes/wakes of ballistic and hypersonic missiles and relaying the data.

According to a statement from the SDH these were the first 10 of the planned Tranche 0 test constellation of 28 satellites comprising the Tranche 0 (T0) of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA),  the Transport and Tracking Layer satellites that will demonstrate the low-latency communication links to support the warfighter with a resilient network of integrated capabilities, including tracking of advanced missile threats, from low-Earth orbit (LEO).

Once completed, Tranche 0 will include 20 optically-connected data transport satellites and eight optically-connected missile warning/missile tracking satellites equipped with wide-field-of-view sensors. A second SDA launch of Tranche 0 satellites is scheduled for June.

Eventually.,the a SDA plans to field the first operational generation of the PWSA, Tranche 1, beginning in late 2024. Tranche 1 will include 126 Transport Layer satellites, 35 Tracking satellites, and 12 tactical demonstration satellites (called T1DES).

Ten satellites for the SDA were launched by a Falcon 9 on 2 April 2023. Courtesy: SpaceX

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