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Northrop Completes Payload Test On SBIRS GEO Satellite

By | October 9, 2006

      Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] completed acoustic testing on the payload for the first Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS) geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellite, the company announced.

      Northrop will provide the payload to Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] the prime contractor and systems integrator for SBIRS.

      During the test, the GEO-1 payload was subjected to the maximum sound and vibration levels expected during the spacecraft’s launch into orbit.

      The payload sensor assembly was assembled in a launch configuration for this un-powered acoustic exposure. Testing was performed inside the Northrop Grumman Large Acoustic Test Facility at Redondo Beach, Calif.

      This step marks a key milestone in the test schedule for GEO-1. Over the summer, the fully integrated payload was put through ambient functional testing at Azusa to demonstrate critical payload functions.

      Engineers executed 147 separate tests which checked out functions such as command and telemetry, infrared data connectivity to the onboard signal processing assembly, internal data bus messaging, scanner and starer mission modes, and downlink interfaces.

      Additional preparations ensured that the payload could be mounted to the test fixture and tested to the required levels.

      The ambient functional tests will now be repeated at Azusa to verify that the payload suffered no damage during exposure to the acoustic test environment. The acoustic test phase is one of several test phases that will certify that the payload’s design and manufacturing integrity are rugged enough to withstand the structural loads of space vehicle launching.

      Upon successful completion of the post-acoustic ambient functional test, the payload will be put through an extensive flight software checkout and preparation for the thermal vacuum protoqualification testing scheduled for early 2007.

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