Northrop Grumman Corporation has made significant progress in the development of the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM). The company recently concluded thermal vacuum tests, a crucial step in creating a two-satellite constellation to provide broadband communications in the Northern polar region for the US Space Force and Space Norway.
Each satellite in the constellation is equipped with a Ka-band payload for ViaSat and an X-Band payload for the Norwegian Ministry of Defence. Additionally, the satellites also integrate the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalisation payloads for the US Space Force.
The completion of the thermal vacuum tests sets the stage for vibration testing of the ASBM-1 satellite, which will be followed by ASBM-2.
Northrop Grumman’s involvement in the ASBM project goes beyond satellite construction. They also provide the Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) ground system, which plays a crucial role in achieving broadband connectivity in the Arctic region. The CAPS assists with compatibility testing for payload and space vehicle segments and establishes interfaces with the Satellite Operations Center in Norway.
The CAPS ground system has passed formal acceptance and turnover, making it ready for system activation. This progress brings the ASBM project closer to realization.
In addition to the ASBM project, Northrop Grumman has secured a contract modification valued at $235m from the US Department of Defense. This contract reinforces Northrop Grumman’s role as the original equipment manufacturer for Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) polar-orbiting satellites. The contract ensures the DoD’s access to polar coverage, allowing them to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missile threats traveling through the polar region.
Overall, these developments highlight Northrop Grumman’s commitment to advancing satellite technology and expanding broadband capabilities in the Arctic region.