Dynetics has been selected to develop small satellites for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command (USASMDC/ARSTRAT) Technical Center program named Gunsmoke-L. Through the Design, Development, Demonstration and Integration (D3I), Domain 1 task order, the Gunsmoke-L contract is for two years, plus one option year valued at $8.3 million to develop, test, integrate and demonstrate two tactical space support vehicles (TSSVs) which will be used to enhance all phases of joint force operations.
The two platforms will operate in low Earth orbit (LEO) and will be equipped with tactical support payloads.
Dynetics will conduct hardware-in-the-loop testing and simulation in conjunction with the command’s Payload Development Laboratory (PDL) facility at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., to optimize TSSV performance and reliability. The TSSV will be developed and integrated at Dynetics’ facilities in Huntsville, which include payload development labs, clean rooms and environmental test capabilities. At completion of the two-year base period, the two TSSVs will be qualified and ready for launch.
During the 12-month option period, Dynetics will support on-orbit demonstrations utilizing the Technical Center’s small satellite ground control system located at Redstone Arsenal to provide command, control, and communication with the TSSV.
Small satellites are becoming increasingly important to both commercial and government users. The Army has taken a particular interest in small satellites. They mesh well with the Army’s need to support troops on the ground in a timely manner. The Army deployed the Kestrel Eye reconnaissance satellite that had a launch mass of only 50 kilograms in 2017.
The Army’s focus on developing and buying smalls satellites has created an opportunity for new manufacturers to enter the military satellite market. For example, Kestrel Eye was built by a company called Maryland Aerospace. The Gunsmoke-L program will support entry into the satellite market of Dynetics, a company typically known for its production of launch vehicle components.