SDA Awards Contract for Eight New ‘FOO Fighter’ Fire Control Satellites

The Space Development Agency has awarded a $414 million contract for eight new “FOO Fighter” satellites to Millennium Space Systems. 

Not to be confused with the popular rock band or the World War II term for unidentified aerial phenomena, these satellites will provide advanced experimental fire control sensors for SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture, with the first launches projected in the final quarter of 2026.

SDA has already launched some missile warning/missile tracking satellites as part of its “Tranche 0,” and it has awarded contracts for dozens more in Tranches 1 and 2.  

The FOO Fighter program—which stands for Fire-control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter—will be “separate from, but complementary to, our missile warning/missile tracking and missile defense efforts already underway in the tranches,” SDA Director Derek M. Tournear said in a statement.

With fire control, the satellites will be able to help shooters track, target, and take down missile threats, a step beyond detecting and tracking those missiles’ launches and flight paths. 

Tranche 2, slated to start launching four to six months after FOO Fighter, will include six missile defense satellites with mix of wide- and medium-field-of-view infrared sensors to generate fire control tracks to help ground forces intercept missiles. Those satellites will cost $52 million each, an SDA official previously said—in line with the cost of the FOO Fighter satellites. 

FOO Fighter satellites will be designed to counter advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missiles. The Missile Defense Agency is also working on that problem with its Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensors program, and the two agencies are working together. 

“We’re looking to proliferate in future tranches, working with MDA so that we can get that fire control fidelity to support programs like Glide Phase Interceptor and other programs that could use that data to intercept threats,” an SDA official said in January. 

This marks Millennium Space Systems’ first time as a prime contractor with SDA, but it was selected as one of the builders for Space Systems Command’s own medium-Earth orbit constellation of missile warning/missile tracking satellites. It has earned other work for the Space Force through its Tactically Responsive Space program.

“Our deep knowledge and understanding of this mission enabled us to engineer the right solution at the right cost, taking advantage of our common sensing vehicle and core components,” CEO Jason Kim said in a release. “The mission engineering we’ve done is grounded in modeling and simulation exercises, allowing us to understand the payload and its applicability to mission execution.” 

SDA’s low-Earth orbit constellation, meanwhile, continues to grow. The agency has either launched or awarded contracts for more than 450 satellites, all slated to go into orbit in the next five years. 

0Transport20York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin
Tracking8SpaceX, L3Harris
1Transport126York Space Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman
Tracking35L3Harris, Northrop Gumman, Raytheon
Demonstration and Experimentation System12York Space Systems
2Transport (Beta)90Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Rocket Lab
Transport (Alpha)100York Space Systems, Northrop Grumman
Transport (Gamma)20 (approx.)TBA
Tracking54L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Sierra Space
Demonstration and Experimentation System20 (approx.)TBA
OtherFOO Fighter8Millennium Space Systems