U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command (SSC) has awarded Raytheon Techologies’ [RTX] Intelligence & Space and Boeing’s [BA] Millennium Space Systems $605 million to design, build and deliver the first two prototype Missile Track Custody spacecraft for Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) under the Space Force Resilient Missile Warning/Missile Tracking program.

Lt. Col. Gary Goff, materiel leader for Space Layer Resilient Missile Warning/Missile Tracking at SSC’s Space Space Sensing Directorate at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., wrote in an email that SSC executed an option for the Millenium Space Systems’ prototype in November and for the Raytheon prototype last month.

The option award to Millenium Space Systems is $209 million, while the Raytheon award is $396 million. The options are to last through 2026 “from payload Critical Design Review [CDR] through delivery of the first satellite,” per Goff.

“The full contract is comprised of multiple options that, if executed, could run through 2032,” he wrote. “The full contract value (including the base period already completed) for Millennium is $412 million. The full contract value (including the based period already completed) for Raytheon is $727 million.”

The options under the full contract “include the scope for a total of three spacecraft, ground command and control and mission data processing hardware and software, launch support and early operations, and five years of on-orbit operations in a government led contractor operated construct,” per Goff.

Asked why the value of the Millenium and Raytheon contracts differed significantly, Goff replied that the two proposals had “a diverse set of ideas, offering a variety of solutions required to meet all Missile Track Custody (MTC) prototype objectives.”

“Both solutions took different approaches to balancing cost and performance per satellite at different levels of cost and technical risk,” per Goff. “By taking this approach, we were able to capitalize on industry level innovation while maintaining the ability to assess the performance, number of satellites, and technical risk necessary to populate the full warning and tracking operational constellation.”

Raytheon said on Jan. 4 that its MTC design “was developed using model-based systems engineering, significantly increasing the speed of development, while reducing cost.”

“Raytheon Intelligence & Space will also deliver the command and control and real-time mission- data processing elements for MTC,” the company said. “The ground system will use the Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Mission Data Processing Application Framework (FORGE MDPAF).”

The latter is to be a ground system architecture that uses data from the Space Force’s Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) constellation by Lockheed Martin [LMT] and the future Next-Generation OPIR constellation by Lockheed Martin.

Raytheon said that its MTC payload is to be integrated onto Lockheed Martin’s LM400 satellite bus design, which includes SmartSat™ software features “that allow it to adapt to changing mission needs and deploy new capabilities to stay ahead of evolving threats.”

SSC said last November that it had conducted CDRs for the Raytheon and Millenium Space Systems’ MTC proposals and that both companies’ designs are on schedule (Defense Daily, Nov. 30, 2022). The command has planned to conduct system-level CDRs for both companies’ full space vehicle designs this summer.

“If successful designs are matured and proven, the program can then proceed into building multiple satellites to operate in a plane of capability as part of the MTC initial capability, which is currently slated for two launches in late 2026,” SSC said last November.

Millennium Space Systems said on Jan. 4 that it expects to deliver the system to SSC by August 2026.

“There are contract options for a second and third vehicle and, if exercised, the same delivery date applies,” Millenium Space Systems said on Jan. 4. “Millennium’s MTC payload takes advantage of five years of development work at Boeing.”

The MTC payloads are to track missile launches and hypersonic glide vehicles from MEO and to integrate with the Space Development Agency (SDA) Tracking Layer satellites and SBIRS geosynchronous Earth orbit and highly elliptical orbit (GEO/HEO) satellites.

The U.S. tracks missile launches via GEO and HEO satellites and plans to expand that coverage to low Earth orbit (LEO) through the fielding of SDA’s Tracking Layer. The MEO satellites would expand missile tracking coverage.

In the fiscal 2023 omnibus law, the MEO portion of the Space Force Resilient Missile Warning/Missile Tracking program received more than $408 million in research and development funding, a nearly $270 million increase over the budget request.