The Space Development Agency has an upcoming June launch (scheduled for the 25th of the month) of their first satellite mission, two years after the agency’s establishment. This is their Mandrake II Laser Interconnect Networking Communications System (LINCS) and Prototype On-orbit Experimental Testbed (POET) and will be launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
SpaceX’s Transporter 2, an all-rideshare Falcon 9 mission, will transport SDA’s satellites, designed and built with government and industry partners, to gather data on optical communication terminal (OCT) performance and processing in LEO, proving out a core capability required for SDA’s future development efforts.
As a matter of practice, SpaceX will announce the specific launch time and date 24 to 48 hours in advance of the mission. Optical links between space, air, and ground assets offer significantly higher data rates and lower latency when compared to conventional radio frequency links and demonstrate a pathway of getting real-time data to the warfighter.
The Transporter 2 mission will also launch an experimental processor and application with the goal of demonstrating the edge computing capabilities required by SDA’s Custody and Battle Management, Command, Control and Communication layers.
Recognized as the Department of Defense’s constructive disruptor for space acquisition, SDA will accelerate delivery of needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter to support terrestrial missions through development, fielding and operation of the National Defense Space Architecture.