Northrop Grumman Corp., in conjunction with ground system teammate Raytheon, recently completed the System Acceptance Test (SAT) of a Common Command and Telemetry System (CCTS) that will potentially reduce costs between two programs, James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS). “The successful completion of this milestone proves our commitment to providing low cost, synergistic enterprise solutions to our customers,” said Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology Sector. “It also shows that two customers with two separate programs were willing to trust our collaboration and team work to align schedules so that the same system could be used. We have now demonstrated proven efficiencies across different programs that can be utilized to reduce costs and ensure success for future projects.”

Raytheon’s Eclipse® is a commercial off-the-shelf command and telemetry product that was configured to support both satellite flight operations and integration and test (I&T) on the James Webb Space Telescope and NPOESS. Adding the I&T requirements to a traditional flight operations system is an innovative approach, increasing SAT requirements to accommodate different satellite communication protocols and user needs. Software requirements were verified on spacecraft and ground equipment simulators at Northrop Grumman over a four-week period, concluding in August.

The test milestone represents the culmination of a four-year Raytheon development effort to bring Northrop Grumman its first true multi-mission command and telemetry system and prove the joint team’s ability to engineer a system while balancing combined NPOESS and JWST requirements and schedules. The test verified 1300 requirements through 26 “test-as-you-fly,” functional, performance and interface procedures and was the first SAT completed after program-specific requirements were merged into a baseline command and telemetry system. The SAT’s objective was to verify command rate and protocol, telemetry decomutation (the ability to transform raw data into engineering values), and to control and monitor the test hardware in an environment unique to Northrop Grumman. The CCTS ECLIPSE has been delivered to science instrument providers at the Goddard Space Flight Center who will use it to develop, test and integrate their instruments for the James Webb Space Telescope. The joint development team includes Northrop Grumman’s JWST and NPOESS teams, program customers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the NPOESS Integrated Program Office (IPO) and Raytheon Mission Command and Control Systems.