MDA awards $99M deal to continue space-based sensor work

Utah State's Space Dynamics Lab, which has worked with MDA on other projects, will develop new state-of-the-art systems for missile defense.

The Missile Defense Agency has awarded the Utah State University Research Foundation a $99.4 million contract to develop new, state-of-the-art space-based sensors systems, along with performing advanced research and development.

The University’s Space Dynamics Lab is MDA’s affiliated research center and has worked on other satellite/sensor programs, such as the Space Based Infrared System (SBIR), the Near Field Infrared Experiment and the Commercially Hosted Infrared Program, Space News has reported.  

The contract, an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity deal, allows for an ordering period from Aug. 17 this year to Aug. 16, 2021.

MDA has been replacing the Defense Support Program, for which it launched 23 satellites between 1960 and 2007. A program such as SBIR, which consists of satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) and highly elliptical orbit, is designed for infrared surveillance and early missile warning, and provides  more comprehensive coverage and three times the sensitivity of DSP.

In addition its work with MDA on missile defense, Utah State’s Space Dynamic Laboratory has worked with commercial companies to develop space-based sensors that can be used in weather forecasting, at least partly with funding from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.