July 18, 2024
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Northrop Grumman delivers broadband satellites to Arctic ahead of planned July launch

WASHINGTON – Northrop Grumman announced June 21 that it has delivered two satellites to Space Norway for the Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission (ASBM) to provide Internet connectivity in the challenging North Polar region.

The satellites, ordered in 2019They will launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California in mid-July.

Built on Northrop Grumman's GEOStar-3 bus platform, the pair will provide consistent broadband coverage to the North Pole and high-latitude areas currently underserved by existing satellite networks.

In a unique collaboration, each ASBM satellite hosts payloads from multiple entities: the U.S. military's Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) payload for secure communications; an X-band payload for the Norwegian Armed Forces; a Ka-band payload for commercial satellite operator Viasat and a Norwegian radiation monitor payload

The U.S. Space Force noted that the EPS-R will be the first operational U.S. military payload housed on a commercial space vehicle operated by an international partner. Northrop Grumman was responsible for the EPS-R payload and its ground station.

The two satellites, ASBM-1 and ASBM-2, are designed to operate in highly elliptical polar orbits, intersecting at the North Pole to ensure complete coverage. Both were manufactured at the Northrop Grumman facility in Dulles, Virginia.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology, and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as NDIA's National Defense Editor…

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