Mon. Dec 11th, 2023
Mission Operations at Millennium Space Systems

Millennium Space Systems, located in El Segundo, California, operates the Satellite Operations Center, where engineers monitor and control multiple small satellite constellations. The company provides a comprehensive range of mission operations services, starting from the proposal phase, to launch and early operations, through to the full mission and decommissioning.

The team at Millennium Space Systems evaluates mission requirements during critical reviews, including determining how autonomy fits into on-orbit operations. They also conduct tests to understand the performance of the satellite on the ground and in space. To facilitate continuous monitoring and analysis of each satellite’s subsystems, the team has developed in-house ground software, enabling near lights-out operations.

The end-to-end approach adopted by the Missions Operations engineering team provides them with intimate familiarity with the entire mission, not just the satellite. This allows them to apply lessons learned from previous flight programs to new ones, resulting in improved designs optimized for specific missions. The Red-Eye satellite constellation serves as an example of this process, where lessons from the first satellite were implemented in the development of subsequent vehicles, reducing the commissioning time from a few weeks to just two days.

Millennium Space Systems incorporates new technologies based on on-orbit lessons into their satellite programs. For example, Red-Eye featured on-board automation features that have now been integrated into other programs, enhancing operational efficiency and reducing mission downtime.

To communicate with satellites and downlink data, the mission operations team relies on a global network of ground antennas. The company’s flexibility is key to meeting the diverse needs of different missions. They can utilize their in-house software or integrate with the customer’s third-party solution, run missions from their operations center, or train the customer’s mission ops team. This approach allows Millennium Space Systems to continuously learn and improve their satellite designs and mission operations.

Overall, Millennium Space Systems’ mission operations capabilities encompass a wide range of services, ensuring the successful execution of satellite missions from start to finish.