AURORA, Colo., Feb. 27, 2008 -- Raytheon Company (NYSE:RTN) has achieved a significant program milestone for the National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS) by successfully completing the first phase of a major communications upgrade for Antarctica.
The upgrade of the off-continent satellite communications link at McMurdo Station more than triples the bandwidth available for scientific research, weather prediction, and health and safety of those stationed at McMurdo. The project is part of the NPOESS command, control, and communications segment.
"This upgrade paves the way for a second major communications upgrade planned for 2012 in preparation for the use of McMurdo Station as one of 15 NPOESS ground stations worldwide," said Mike Mader, vice president of Raytheon's NPOESS program. "NPOESS will be significant to monitoring global environmental conditions and will collect and disseminate data related to weather, atmosphere, oceans, land and near-space environment."
The McMurdo project consisted of upgrading one of the two satellite earth station antennas located at Black Island as well as changing satellite service and terrestrial network vendors providing the 10 Mbps (megabit per second) service for McMurdo. The work began in early October 2007 as Raytheon Polar Services Company upgraded the electrical systems at Black Island. The antenna was fitted with a new Ku-band feed and electronics by Raytheon Information and Intelligence Systems (IIS) in late November and the new system was placed into operation on Dec. 23, 2007.
"It has been very exciting to see the collaboration among the National Science Foundation, the NPOESS prime contractor Northrop Grumman, and the NPOESS Integrated Program Office come together to provide this higher bandwidth to the community of McMurdo," said Joe Paciaroni, Raytheon IIS manager for the McMurdo project. "The efforts of Raytheon Polar Services Company and Raytheon came together ahead of schedule and demonstrate the commitment Raytheon gives to our government customers."
Raytheon is part of the Northrop Grumman Corporation-led NPOESS team. Northrop Grumman is the prime contractor and has overall responsibility for the NPOESS program development effort.
Based in Garland, Texas, Raytheon IIS is a leading provider of information and intelligence solutions to the government. Raytheon IIS has annual revenues of approximately $2.7 billion and employs more than 9,000 engineering and technical professionals worldwide.
Raytheon Company, with 2007 sales of $21.3 billion, is a technology leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 85 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide.
Antarctica is the coldest continent with the world's record low temperature of -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit recorded there. McMurdo Station was established in 1955 and is on the coast where monthly temperatures range from -58 degrees Fahrenheit in August to +46 degrees Fahrenheit in January. During the austral summer, which lasts from October to February, the station is filled with more than 1,000 scientists and support staff who are there to study the Antarctic and its interactions with the rest of the planet.
McMurdo Station is located at ~78 degrees South latitude and was selected as a ground station site because the NPOESS satellites will pass over head on every orbit, which contributes significantly to low mission data latency. Black Island is the primary off-continent telecommunications facility some 25 miles south of McMurdo across the McMurdo ice shelf and also serves as a radio lifeline for deep Antarctic field camps.
The National Science Foundation manages and funds the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), which coordinates all U.S. research on the southernmost continent. McMurdo is one of three year-round stations NSF maintains in Antarctica; the others are Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, at the geographic South Pole, and Palmer Station, on the Antarctic Peninsula. The National Science Foundation and the NPOESS Integrated Program Office are collaborating on the development of McMurdo as one of the NPOESS weather downlink stations.
Raytheon Polar Services Company (RPSC) is a part of Raytheon Technical Services Company under contract to the NSF to provide science, operations, and maintenance support to sustain year round research programs at three U.S. locations in Antarctica and two research vessels in the Antarctic region. RPSC exists specifically to meet the needs of the NSF's Office of Polar Programs to provide support to the USAP, which is dedicated to sustaining the Antarctic environment and funding scientists who conduct research in Antarctica.
Antarctic Program Website: www.usap.gov
Source: Raytheon Company
Web site: http://www.raytheon.com/