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SDA Plans $25.5 Billion in Spending Over the Next Five Years

The Space Development Agency plans to spend roughly $25.5 billion from 2025 through the end of the decade building out its massive constellation of low-Earth orbit satellites, budget documents show.

The Space Force unveiled its fiscal 2025 budget request on March 11, with the service’s $29.4 billion request marking its first-ever year-over-year cut. SDA, the agency at the forefront of revolutionizing space acquisition and driving the Space Force toward launching smaller satellites in larger numbers, similarly saw a decline in spending, from 2024’s total of $4.7 billion to $4.2 billion.

After that, however, budget documents project SDA’s funding rebounding quickly and reaching $6 billion by fiscal 2027, followed by more than $5 billion in both 2028 and 2029.

SDA Projected Budget

SEGMENT 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029 TOTAL (continuing)
Launch $357.18 $457.94 $1,235.12 $827.56 $396.24 $3,274.04
Transport $2,126.85 $2,277.60 $2,252.88 $2,182.23 $2,366.69 $11,206.25
Tracking $1,730.82 $1,887.81 $2,553.74 $2,066.04 $2,788.69 $11,027.11
TOTAL $4,214.85 $4,623.35 $6,041.74 $5,075.83 $5,551.63 $25,507.39
in millions

Right now, SDA has 27 satellites in orbit as part of what it calls Tranche 0 of its Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture. The PWSA has two “layers,” one for missile warning/missile tracking and one for data transport and communications.

By the end of fiscal 2029, SDA plans to be in the midst of Tranche 3 of the PWSA, with more than 450 satellites launched and future tranches already contracted out. The goal is to create a constellation of satellites that form a mesh network in low-Earth orbit, connecting sensors and shooters around the globe and helping to detect and track novel missile threats like hypersonic weapons while decreasing the efficacy of an adversary’s attempt to shoot down a U.S. spacecraft.

To get there, SDA is buying batches of satellites on fixed-price contracts and looking to launch within three years. Director Derek M. Tournear has stated he wants to keep the cost per satellite down, relying on technology advancing and getting cheaper.

However, increasing the number of satellites per tranche will require more funds. Tranche 0 is meant for “warfighter immersion,” to demonstrate the constellation’s capabilities. Tranche 1 will provide regional coverage, and Tranche 2 will provide full global coverage.

A major portion of SDA’s planned budget is its missile warning/missile tracking satellite program. In fiscal 2025, it is asking for $1.73 billion to:

  • Prepare Tranche 1 for launch and conduct early on-orbit operations
  • Continue work on Tranche 2 ahead of planned launches in April 2027
  • Start preliminary work on Tranche 3
  • Support demonstrations and work on ground integration
  • Conduct other testing and work on “fire control” satellites and payloads

The missile warning/missile tracking budget is projected to grow modestly in 2026 before jumping to $2.55 billion in 2027, around the time that Tranche 4 contracts might start being awarded.

SDA is not alone in planning to expand its missile warning/missile tracking efforts. Space Systems Command, the Space Force’s main acquisition arm, is working on its own constellation for medium-Earth orbit, and officials have said the two organizations are collaborating on their efforts.

The SSC plan is slightly behind SDA—its first batch of satellites (dubbed Epoch 1) will launch in fiscal 2027. That effort is projected to get $846 million in fiscal 2025, surpassing $1 billion by 2027.

Another major part of SDA’s surge in funding for 2027 is the jump in the number of launches the agency wants to buy that year. Right now, the plan is to purchase 12 launches for $1.24 billion in 2027, compared to four for $357 million in fiscal 2025.

Space launches are often “bought” months or even years before the actual launch. Budget documents note that SDA’s 2025 launch funding is for “delivery of Tranche 2 [satellites],” which won’t actually start going into orbit until 2026. Therefore the 2027 launch funding will likely be for Tranche 3 or beyond.

Finally, SDA’s funding for its Transport Layer of satellites is split between two programs, but the combined 2025 value is $2.13 billion. Like the Tracking Layer, these funds will support work across Tranches 0-3.

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