Northrop Grumman delivered two critical satellite constellations of the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission, which will provide protected satellite communications to the Northern polar region, according to an Aug. 7 announcement.
“Our work to deliver protected polar satellite communications will fill a critical need for our customers,” Tom Wilson, Northrop’s Space Systems corporate vice president and president, said.
The mission will use Northrop’s GEOStar-3 platform, which includes the main satellite structure and systems essential to maintain operations, according to the announcement. The company would also be providing the payload and ground system for the mission.
Additionally, satellites will also carry multiple hosted payloads, including an X-Band payload for the Norwegian Defense Ministry; a Ka-Band payload for Inmarsat, a British mobile satellite service; and the Norwegian Radiation Monitor payload commissioned by the European Commission.
Recently, Space Systems Command accepted the formal delivery of the Control and Planning Segment ground system, which is currently transitioning to the operational phase, preparing the ground system for early operations with the two on-orbit operational Enhanced Polar System payloads.
Northrop will also provide support to the two EPS-Recapitalization payloads after the mission launch, the announcement states.
In February 2020, a Pentagon official said the EPS-R would prevent a coverage gap in the protected polar satellite communications, until the mid-2030s, for warfighters in the North Polar Region, in a benign and contested environment.
ASBM is a collaboration between Northrop, the U.S. Space Force and Space Norway, owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and is now preparing the next phase of pre-launch.