L3Harris Technologies (NYSE:LHX) completed the final major design milestone on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) program Phase IIb On-orbit Prototype Demonstration and has already begun building the demonstration satellite.
Completing the CDR is the final design milestone ensuring performance, cost and schedule requirements can be met before beginning to build the 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,” said 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 the Department of Defense’s next-generation proliferated low-Earth orbit space architecture. The program’s objective is to demonstrate the capability to detect and track traditional and emerging missile threats using infrared sensors and advanced processing capability.
L3Harris has prioritized investments in end-to-end satellite solutions in spacecraft, payloads, ground software and advanced algorithms. The Missile Defense Agency awarded L3Harris 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.