Harris Corp. successfully completed a two-day Preliminary Design Review for a synthetic aperture radar satellite payload that will provide military commanders in the field with timely, high resolution radar imagery of the Earth's surface — regardless of weather conditions or time of day. The review is a key milestone that confirms the Harris design approach is consistent with the customer’s technical requirements, allowing the payload team to transition into the detailed design phase of the program.

Harris was awarded a 30-month contract in December 2010 by Sierra Nevada Corp. to design, build and integrate the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite payload for the Modular Space Vehicle. The contract is part of NASA's Rapid Response Space Works and Modular Space Vehicles program for the US Department of Defense's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office – a joint NASA/DoD initiative chartered to field modular payloads rapidly and inexpensively.

The Harris payload architecture supports a new family of modular military satellites, offering flexibility to support multiple missions with minimal changes in the basic design. The SAR payload will produce high resolution radar imagery of the earth's surface, even during darkness or inclement weather.

"The Harris team has successfully architected a flexible, modular RF payload that can support the ORS program office through a variety of RF missions and provide the Joint Force Commanders with the assets required to execute their missions," said Bill Gattle, Vice President, Harris Space Communications Systems. “The ORS SARSAT configuration serves as the baseline for our reconfigurable payload, which reflects decades of Harris experience in antenna and electronics solutions for multiple space missions.”

Harris is applying more than 35 years of advanced space structures and electronics expertise supporting intelligence missions to help solve NASA’s and the US military’s space communications challenges. Harris is the leading provider of large, unfurlable antennas to the US government. The company is dedicated to advancing Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) solutions that translate into faster, more flexible and cost-effective satellite deployments, including payloads that can be reprogrammed while in space in order to support multiple missions.