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LeoStella and Hera Systems to Bid on SDA Deals Together 

By Rachel Jewett | August 28, 2023

      LeoStella’s factory in Tukwila, Washington. Photo: LeoStella

      LeoStella and Hera Systems are jointly bidding on manufacturing proposals for the Space Development Agency’s Tranche 2 Transport Layer, the companies announced Monday. They plan to collaborate on manufacturing the Hera Systems’ Leoness Smart Bus product line.

      The companies said working together will help to mitigate supply chain risks, increase the reliability of production and delivery schedules, and maintain competitive pricing. They are first bidding on the SDA Tranche 2 Transport layer, but foresee a long-term relationship to support commercial and government customers in the smallsat industry. 

      Last week, the SDA awarded Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman prime contracts to build and operate 72 satellites for the Tranche 2 Transport Layer, Beta layer. Both companies are also working on Tranche 1 Transport Layer, and subcontracted Terran Orbital and Airbus U.S. Space & Defense for the satellite buses, respectively. 

      The SDA has also issued a solicitation for 100 “Alpha” satellites that will be part of the Tranche 2 Transport Layer.

      The Leoness bus, announced in October 2021, is an advanced platform that includes cyber-secure communications, resilient power systems, and on-board computing power.

      “Our shared pursuit of efficient manufacturing and supply chain management will enhance our competitiveness in a sector known for its complexity,” said Tim Kienberger, LeoStella CEO. “Roger [Hera Systems CEO] and I recognize the challenges many new space companies experience as they scale to meet production timelines for multi-satellite agreements. This strategic collaboration will leverage our resources to directly address schedule and delivery risks that other providers encounter due to supply chain constraints, facility limitations, and staffing shortages.”