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Ball Aerospace Incorporates Enhanced Data Communication for JPSS-1 Satellite


August 13, 2012

 Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will incorporate essential data communication enhancements for the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS-1), currently under development for an early 2017 launch.

JPSS is the Nation's next generation polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, procured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). JPSS will provide continuity of observations for accurate weather and storm forecasting, vertical profiles of temperature and moisture, global measurements of atmospheric and oceanic conditions, and ozone measurements.

Ball Aerospace built Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership – the first of the JPSS-class satellites - using the IEEE 1394 (FireWire) and MIL-STD 1553 data networks to support the five-instrument payload suite. For JPSS-1, Ball is converting the NPP spacecraft design from 1394 to a SpaceWire databus protocol for use by the Cross-track Infrared Sounder (CrIS) and the Visible/Infrared Imager Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instruments. The high-speed (>200Mbp) on-board communications provided by SpaceWire mitigates 1394 obsolescence risks at the JPSS program level and can be incorporated without risking schedule. The SpaceWire databus is a point-to-point cable bus based on the IEEE 1355 standard and has successfully flown on other NASA and international space agency missions.

Ball Aerospace will also modify JPSS-1 to improve reliability and flexibility for operations by replacing the primary X-band Science Mission Data (SMD) downlink with a Ka-band telecom system transmitting to the ground communication system. A backup Ka-band SMD downlink system will be added, transmitting to NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS), which offers possible future cost avoidance and latency improvements.

Ball is under contract to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to design and build the JPSS-1 satellite bus, the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) instrument, integrate all instruments, and perform satellite-level testing and launch support. The JPSS-1 spacecraft is a member of the BCP family of spacecraft designed for cost-effective, remote sensing applications. The JPSS-1 spacecraft bus is the twelfth spacecraft built by Ball Aerospace on the BCP core architecture. In all, this architecture has more than 50 years of successful on-orbit operations.

The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) provides global weather forecasts and long-term environmental monitoring critical to public safety, and economic and national security. JPSS will operationalize the advanced technologies currently being demonstrated on Suomi NPP, to provide enhanced Earth-observing information and environmental data. JPSS development is progressing smoothly, with an early 2017 launch anticipated for the first satellite in the JPSS series.