Millennium Space Systems has completed the design, production and integration of a new microsatellite prototype for the U.S. Space Force, the company announced April 21.
TETRA will be used for various prototype missions around geosynchronous orbit, according to a news release put out by Millennium, a Boeing subsidiary.
The satellite was the first prototype award issued under the Space Enterprise Consortium, an other transaction authority contract vehicle used by the Space and Missile Systems Center for rapid prototyping projects.
“One of our primary goals is to be more agile in the development and deployment of innovative space assets,” said Col. Tim Sejba, director of innovation and prototyping for the SMC Development Corps. “By leveraging OTA contracts with programs like TETRA-1, we are expediting the execution of new space development missions. The partnership we’ve developed with Millennium Space Systems allows us to create and field a dynamic pathfinder capability to meet the future space warfighter’s needs.”
In a request for information, the Air Force says it is interested in recompeting the contract for managing the organization with a focus on speeding up acquisitions and improving cybersecurity.
Both Millenium and Blue Canyon Technologies were awarded contracts to develop a TETRA microsatellite. The value of the contracts was not disclosed, and Blue Canyon Technologies could not immediately provide an update on their TETRA prototype.
According to Millennium, the company was able to complete the project 60 percent faster than previous missions by leveraging the company’s in-house capabilities. TETRA-1 is based on Millennium’s ALTAIR small satellite product line, although no previous ALTAIR satellites have operated in geosynchronous orbit before. The company claims it completed integration in less than 15 months from when the contract was awarded.
TETRA-1 is slated for launch in late 2020 on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.