Raytheon Hits Military, Civil Space Satellite Technology Milestones
[Satellite TODAY Insider 11-24-11] Raytheon has achieved technology milestones on two high-priority civil space and government satellite projects, the company announced Nov. 23.
Raytheon said its Army Secure Mobile Anti-jam Reliable Tactical Terminal (SMART-T) is the first operationally fielded terminal to interoperate with the in-orbit Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. The company recently completed its set of operational tests after the launch of the first AEHF satellite in August 2010.
SMART-T AEHF, which is both fielded and in production, already demonstrated interoperable communications using the AEHF satellite’s eXtended Data Rate (XDR) waveform. Raytheon said the XDR moved data more than five times faster than previous EHF systems. The company also demonstrated backward compatibility to low- and medium-data-rate operation supported by earlier EHF satellites on the new AEHF satellite.
Raytheon Network Centric Systems Vice President Scott Whatmough said the AEHF terminal product line developments enables his company to adapt terminals to new military missions and platforms in the future. “Our success in this on-orbit test of AEHF, along with our demonstrated capability to develop, produce and field complex EHF and AEHF terminals for the Army, Navy and Air Force, results from a three-decade commitment to our EHF/AEHF terminal product line.”
Raytheon is working under contract to deliver 364 AEHF SMART-T terminals to the U.S. armed services. Whatmough added that the increased capability was designed to provide armed services with more mission flexibility and increased capacity to provide protected voice, data and video communications for strategic and tactical missions.
Separately, Raytheon announced that its Visible Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) produced its first image aboard the recently launched NASA NPOESS Preparatory Project (NPP) spacecraft.
In a statement, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems Vice President Bill Hart said the visible spectrum image shows the East Coast of the United States in unprecedented sharpness and detail. “The VIIRS visible imager is performing excellently and we expect the data will be of great value to the weather and climate monitoring communities. We look forward to continued high-quality imagery and expect other facets of the instrument to check out equally well.”
NPP will function as a bridge between current NOAA operational weather and NASA climate research satellites and a new group of satellites known as the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). VIIRS is the primary JPSS instrument responsible for global imagery, land and sea surface temperature monitoring, cloud characterization and other environmental data.