Raytheon Completes Second Communications Upgrade for Environmental Satellite in Antarctica


Raytheon Company has successfully completed a major communications upgrade in Antarctica for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) program.

The upgrade of the satellite communications link at McMurdo Station provides better operational performance, supporting higher data rates for off-continent communications. McMurdo Station is the largest of the three U.S. Antarctic Program research stations operated and managed by the National Science Foundation. NSF and NPOESS are collaborating to host NPOESS SafetyNet ground-receiving stations at McMurdo.

"The upgrade of the communications systems at McMurdo is essential for timely mission data delivery from the McMurdo ground station to the NPOESS data processing centers," said Bill Sullivan, Raytheon’s NPOESS program manager. "This provides McMurdo with faster network speeds to do its missions in a more effective way."

Raytheon upgraded two satellite earth station antennas and expanded the satellite bandwidth to support 20 megabits per second communication. This new system upgrade went into operations on 9 January 2010.

The upgrade completes a four-year effort to modernise the electronics of the two large NSF satellite communications antennas 20 miles from McMurdo. The antennas are at NSF’s Black Island Telecommunications Facility, a remote, wind-swept island that provides a clear view of satellites low on the northern sky. The Black Island facility supports all of NSF’s off-continent satellite communications for NSF-funded U.S. Antarctica Program science research program and staff operating at McMurdo.

"Working in close collaboration with NSF and the NPOESS teams, we have successfully accomplished a critical milestone for both agencies," said Doug Whiteley, government Command, Control and Communications lead for the NPOESS program.

NPOESS was designed to serve as the nation’s next-generation, low Earth-orbiting operational weather and climate monitoring system, providing timely and essential data to civilian and military users. The government recently announced its plans to restructure NPOESS and is developing a transition plan.

Raytheon is part of the NPOESS team led by Northrop Grumman Corporation, which serves as the prime contractor with overall responsibility for the NPOESS program development effort.

Raytheon Company, with 2009 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specialising in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 88 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 75 000 people worldwide.

Xhead = Note to Editors:

Raytheon is demonstrating its space, environmental and cyberspace capabilities in booth No. 503 at National Space Symposium April 12-15 in Colorado Springs.