Satellites Using Terran Orbital Buses Launch into Space

Nov. 16, 2023
Watch the launch of the Space Development Agency's (SDA) Tranche 0 Transport Layer launch of 10 satellites that are equipped with Terran Orbital's buses.
To watch just the launch, skip to 14:25. 

Terran Orbital Corporation, a manufacturer of satellite products primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries, had its buses used in 10 satellites that were deployed in low Earth orbit following a September 2023 launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. 

The 10 satellites are part of the Tranche 0 Transport Layer of the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA). Terran Orbital manufactured the buses for Lockheed Martin for payload integration and delivery to SDA.

“It is a great honor to contribute to this important mission by delivering our 10 satellite buses to Lockheed Martin. We are thankful to Lockheed Martin for their collaboration and the opportunity to leverage our small satellite solution expertise and to support their missions,” said Marc Bell, Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Terran Orbital.

The Tranche 0 spacecraft are built on Terran Orbital's Zuma Platform, a micro-sat class spacecraft that leverages the MKII Avionics platform, typical to the Trestles platform.

The Tranche 0 foundation layer represents the initial step in building an interoperable, connected, secure mesh network. Once in orbit, Tranche 0 will demonstrate Joint All-Domain Operations capabilities by linking nodes together and creating seamless connectivity between all domains.

Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer will provide assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to the full range of warfighter platforms. The Transport Layer is exploring technical areas including, but not limited to:

  • Optimized control of modulation techniques (including wide-band or narrow-band operations).
  • Simultaneous transmit and receive technologies.
  • Communications security functions (e.g., frequency hopping).
  • Unique state-of-the-art waveforms.
  • Space implementation of tactical data links.
  • Automated dynamic networking and routing techniques.
  • Commercial cryptographic systems.
  • Blockchain technologies.
  • Multiband phased array antennas.
  • Multi-level security (MLS).

Currently, Terran Orbital is producing 42 satellite buses for Lockheed Martin, which will deliver 42 Tranche 1 Transport Layer satellites for SDA. These 42 satellites are scheduled to launch in 2024. These satellites will have various capabilities, including optical communications links, Link-16 mission communications, a Ka-band RF communications payload, and a BMC3 module that enables on-orbit data processing. These features will support missions for global warfighters.