AZUSA, Calif. – Northrop Grumman has successfully completed payload integration and the ambient functional test of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Based Infrared System’s third highly elliptical orbit (HEO-3) payload. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator.
Featuring a mix of geosynchronous satellites, hosted payloads in highly elliptical earth orbit, and associated ground hardware and software, the SBIRS program delivers improved missile warning capabilities for the nation while simultaneously providing significant contributions to the military’s missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness mission areas. Two HEO payloads and the first geosynchronous (GEO-1) satellite have already been launched.
During payload integration, the Northrop Grumman-led team verified the initial electrical functionality after conducting mechanical integration of the payload, harness checks, bond joint checks, command confirmation and primary/secondary power checks. Once the integration checks were completed, the initial ambient function test provided functional baseline performance and readiness to enter the next phases of testing, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and thermal vacuum characterization testing.
“The HEO-3 payload is on track to provide the same high-quality global persistent infrared surveillance capabilities as its predecessors,” said Stephen J. Toner, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Military and Civil Space business unit. “The SBIRS team has worked with rigor and diligence to serve our warfighters and the nation.”
Following the characterization test, the HEO-3 payload will enter its prototype qualification acceptance testing for a scheduled delivery in 2013.
“The completion of this test is an important milestone in the integration and buildup of the HEO-3 payload,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared mission area. “We are focused on delivering the HEO-3 payload and providing our warfighters with unprecedented infrared surveillance capabilities.”
The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, Calif., is the SBIRS prime contractor, with Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, Calif., the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.