Build on Demonstration Satellite Already Under Way
L3Harris Technologies has completed the final major design milestone on the Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) programme Phase IIb On-orbit Prototype Demonstration for the US Missile Defense Agency, the company announced on 20 December.
Completing the review is the final design milestone ensuring performance, cost and schedule requirements can be met, before beginning to build the demonstration satellite. However, L3Harris has been building and buying components concurrently to maintain an aggressive schedule.
“L3Harris is moving quickly, in collaboration with our customer, to provide prototype HBTSS satellites that demonstrate the sensitivity and fire control quality of service necessary to support the hypersonic kill chain,” commented Ed Zoiss, President, L3Harris Space & Airborne Systems. “Recent events with China and Russia increase the urgency to counter hypersonics and advanced maneuvering threats.”
HBTSS is one of several proposed systems within DoD’s next-generation proliferated low-Earth orbit space architecture. The programme’s objective is to demonstrate capability to detect and track traditional and emerging missile threats, using IR sensors and advanced processing capability.
L3Harris has prioritized investments in end-to-end satellite solutions in spacecraft, payloads, ground software and advanced algorithms. The MDA awarded the company a study contract in 2019 and the prototype demonstration in January 2021. In December 2020, the Space Development Agency selected L3Harris to build and launch four space vehicles to demonstrate the capability to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles.