York Space Systems is now producing a larger satellite platform with double the payload volume of the company’s current spacecraft bus in response to market demand.
The new LX-CLASS is designed to have a total mass of more than 350 kilograms, up from 180 kilograms for its flight-proven S-CLASS satellite platform. The LX-CLASS will reuse more than 90% of the S-CLASS design, reducing schedule and cost risk for missions ranging from communications to EO and will also include cybersecurity and encryption systems developed for military customers on the S-CLASS.
The company is currently building 15 under-contract spacecraft in a facility designed to produce 20 simultaneously. The number of S-CLASS under production is exceeding 10 in number and the LX-CLASS [is] ramping production throughout this year. As the platforms share more than 90% of components and systems, York can scale and shift production between them based on market demand.
In October 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted supply chains and businesses around the world, York had plans to produce 50 satellites in 2020 — and hundreds annually in the future. According to the company, demand is continuing to align with its previous expectations.
York’s LX-CLASS will also feature the same autonomous operations capability used by the S-CLASS, which enabled the company to reduce the number of people needed to operate a constellation for a specific customer from 15 to zero. In August, the Pentagon’s Space Development Agency awarded York a $94 million contract to partly build a network of satellites in low Earth orbit for the military.
York and Lockheed Martin are building 10 satellites each for the Space Development Agency’s Transport Layer Tranche 0 mesh network, slated to launch in 2022.