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USSF’s Next Gen OPIR Missile Warning Satellite System Completes Payload PDR
The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting (GEO) satellite program, commonly referred to as NGG, completed its preliminary design reviews (PDR) for its two candidate mission payloads on 21 May 2020.
“NGG is a critical piece of our missile warning architecture that will deliver a capable, resilient, and defensible missile warning system to counter determined adversaries,” said Col. Dennis Bythewood, program executive officer for Space Development. “This milestone demonstrates our ability to move with deliberate speed, while maintaining the technical and programmatic rigor needed to ensure success.”
The NGG program is developing two infrared mission payloads in a competitive, parallel development effort to mitigate schedule risks for the first NGG satellite launch in 2025.
The two mission payload provider teams, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (RSAS) and Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS) with Ball Aerospace, will each design, manufacture, assemble, integrate, test, and deliver one mission payload to fly on the first two of three planned NGG satellites.
As the Space Force pushes for rapid delivery of the first NGG satellite for launch by 2025, this key milestone demonstrates the program is on track. Successfully completing the payload PDRs was especially important, as the payloads are the critical path for the first NGG satellite delivery. The team plans to wrap up the system PDR campaign this fall and drive towards the system critical design review (CDR) in the fall of 2021.
“These reviews demonstrated that the competing NGG mission payload contractors will provide the critical missile warning performance required for our nation to operate in a contested space environment,” said Col. Daniel Walter, the Next Generation OPIR Space Segment program manager. “The two successful reviews were key milestones in demonstrating our readiness to move forward. Our next steps are the build and test of engineering design units, or EDUs, and procurement of critical flight hardware for the first Space Vehicle delivery in 2025.
“The mission payload EDUs will be critical enablers to demonstrate mission capabilities and exercise key integration activities that will burn down program risk before the space flight hardware is delivered.”
The NGG contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin on 14 August 2018 for the design, development, manufacture, integration, test, and delivery of three Next Generation OPIR GEO space vehicles. Lockheed Martin held a competitive source selection and awarded subcontracts to both RSAS and NGAS/Ball for development and build of two separate mission payloads in October 2018. The Government and Lockheed Martin will determine later which of the payloads will integrate on the first and second satellites. Lockheed Martin will also competitively select one of the two subcontractors to build an additional payload to fly on the third NGG satellite.
The advent of large satellite constellations has focused attention on the risks associated with increasing activity in space. The growing space traffic and debris population, which results in more conjunctions, has made apparent the limitations of our collision avoidance capabilities and processes.