Ground System Passes Launch Test for Polar Orbiting Satellite Launch

Raytheon’s Joint Polar Satellite System common ground system successfully completed a NPOESS Preparatory Project compatibility test this month, marking the end of comprehensive testing before the weather satellite launches in October. The testing included 288 hours of continuous mission-like operations through which data flowed from Svalbard, Norway, through Raytheon’s command, control, and communications segment, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Air Force Weather Agency data processing segments, according to a company release. NPP was a satellite originally planned as a risk-reduction spacecraft to validate sensors on the National Polar-orbiting Operating Environmental Satellite System, but it will now be used as an operational test asset to serve as a gap filler until the first new NOAA satellites and the Pentagon’s new Defense Weather Satellite System are on orbit and operating in the wake of the NPOESS cancelation. “We placed a significant load on the systems, which performed with minimal issues during the duration of the test, giving us increased confidence in the NPP mission,” said Bill Sullivan, program director for Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems’ JPSS common ground system.