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Raytheon Executes Successful Recovery and Delivery of Defense Weather Satellite Data Via Antarctica



April 18, 2012


The Common Ground System (CGS) developed by Raytheon Company for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) achieved a major milestone with the successful download and delivery of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) data through McMurdo Station, Antarctica, to the Air Force Weather Agency (AFWA) in Omaha, Neb.


"With this achievement, we have proven Raytheon's ability to successfully execute value-added satellite ground communications, data retrieval and routing solutions on time and under cost, supporting both military and civil needs," said Bill Sullivan, JPSS CGS program director for Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems business. "Achieving this capability completes the last major project phase to evolve the JPSS CGS communications infrastructure to supplement the delivery of associated weather satellite missions' data and significantly reduce their latencies by nearly 50 percent."


As a culmination to decades of effort by the U.S. Air Force to establish a robust defense weather capability, Raytheon members worked as part of a team including Harris Corp., the National Science Foundation, NASA, NOAA and Air Force representatives. The team successfully installed a Raytheon-developed JPSS antenna and Harris data recorders for connection to Raytheon's JPSS McMurdo Multimission Communications System (MMCS) and JPSS Wide Area Network. Site Acceptance Testing of the capability was completed in January 2012. After a rigorous operational assessment in February and March, the Air Force officially declared the capability as operational.


Previous phases of the MMCS project increased the NSF's off-continent communication bandwidth, integrated an alternate communications downlink Earth station in Australia to provide higher operational availability, and installed a new network infrastructure to provide data routing from McMurdo to each of the NASA Near-Earth Network and European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites MetOp satellite mission processing facilities.


McMurdo is the largest of the three year-round U.S. Antarctic Program research stations. The National Science Foundation manages this program and is responsible for coordinating all U.S. scientific research on the southernmost continent and aboard ships in the Southern Ocean, as well as related logistics support.