Headlines > News > Northrop Grumman-Built Space Tracking and Surveillance System Passes Two Critical Ground System Tests

Northrop Grumman-Built Space Tracking and Surveillance System Passes Two Critical Ground System Tests

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Aug 14, 2007 11:13 am
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif., (Northrop Grumman) – (PRIME NEWSWIRE) — Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), the prime contractor for the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) announced today the successful completion of two significant ground system milestones.

The final ground segment acceptance test was successfully completed at the STSS ground operations center located at the Missile Defense Space Experimentation Center (MDSEC) at Schriever AFB in Colorado Springs, Colo. Ground system functions supporting the STSS spacecraft telemetry, tracking and commanding and mission data processing have been successfully developed, tested and delivered to the STSS system test and operations team in two incremental builds over the past two and one-half years. This capability has enabled early use of operational ground hardware and software in critical risk reduction testing of the STSS spacecraft and payload, development and validation of STSS ground operations and maintenance procedures, and training and certification of STSS ground operators.

The final STSS operational readiness demonstration, also conducted at the MDSEC, was a 72-hour event that successfully demonstrated the readiness of the ground system hardware and software to operate the first two STSS satellites scheduled to launch in 2008. The test demonstrated the STSS system test operations by exercising a representative missile test scenario involving the surveillance, detection, tracking and reporting of a simulated test target launch from the Western Range (Vandenberg AFB).

Successful completion of these two events demonstrates the significant progress being made as the STSS team prepares for the launch and testing of the STSS demonstration satellites in 2008. Equally important are the long-term implications of the tests as the ground system hardware and software will ultimately form the backbone for a planned operational constellation of STSS follow-on satellites.

The STSS demonstration satellites will be launched from Cape Canaveral and will communicate with the MDA’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) Test Bed via the MDSEC ground station. These demonstration STSS satellites will support the BMDS Test Bed by detecting and tracking missiles in all phases of flight. The test bed will allow the assessment of the STSS system’s capabilities and its ability to operate in concert with other parts of a multi-layered missile defense architecture.

In the operational constellation, STSS will consist of low-earth-orbiting satellites connected to the BMDS via a dedicated ground station. The system is designed to provide global, continuous missile detection and tracking capabilities. STSS is the segment that is designed to close the fire-control loop for the entire ballistic missile defense architecture, which will result in a robust, global, multi-layered missile defense system.

As a primary supplier of missile defense technology, Northrop Grumman plays a key role in all phases of our nation’s layered missile defense system. Northrop Grumman’s domain expertise delivers essential capabilities and technologies that integrate functions across all elements of the ballistic missile defense system.

Programs such as the Kinetic Energy Interceptor, STSS, Defense Support System, Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center, the chemical laser portion of the Airborne Laser System, the fire control capability for the Ground-based Midcourse System, and the payload for the Space Based Infrared High system are several of the contributions the company is making to the nation’s missile defense efforts. For more information about Northrop Grumman in missile defense, go to www.northropgrumman.com/missiledefense.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

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