Defending the final frontier
Raytheon is building tools for possible conflicts in space
It’s looking like the next battlefield may be in space. And the U.S. Air Force is getting ready.
Because air and space form a continuum, the Air Force “must lead joint war fighting in this new contested domain,” said Gen. David L. Goldfein, USAF chief of staff, in a February speech.
“It is time for us as a service, regardless of specialty badge, to embrace space superiority with the same passion and sense of ownership as we apply to air superiority today,” Goldfein said. “It isn't survival of the fittest as much as it's survival by those fastest to adapt.”
That call to action is being met by Raytheon and other industry leaders, with many innovative technologies on display at the 34th Annual Space Symposium, April 16-19 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Raytheon is offering products for air, land, sea, cyber and space, including end-to-end expertise in earth observation; intelligence dissemination and analysis; and satellite launch, constellation planning and scheduling.
Among those technologies:
JPSS-1 builds better forecasts
Last year, the U.S. saw some of its costliest storms in history. Accurate forecasts were critically important to prepare for the impact of every storm. With the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System-1 satellite in November 2017, the nation now has better access to some of the most-accurate, highest-fidelity, near-real-time weather data in the world.
Raytheon's next-generation Common Ground System for JPSS is now operational, supporting 12 polar-orbiting satellites and delivering observations to NOAA's National Weather Service almost 50 percent faster than before.
“The new ground system...can handle even more data from the full constellation of satellites, now and in the future," said Matt Gilligan, vice president of Raytheon's Navigation and Environmental Solutions.
VIIRS: sophisticated sensing
Both JPSS-1 and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership weather satellites are equipped with Raytheon’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite of sensors, or VIIRS, which provides detailed views of the Earth, making weather forecasts more precise.
“From 500 miles up in space, VIIRS is changing the way we see Earth, and its value goes well beyond weather forecasting,” said Robert Curbeam, director of Civil Space programs for Raytheon's Space and Airborne Systems business.
The only satellite sensor in the world that can track weather both day and night, it collects imagery in 22 bands of light—from visible to infrared—allowing scientists to observe emerging weather and climate patterns in unprecedented detail. That's particularly important to military operations.
Small satellites, big picture
In January 2018, Defense Secretary James Mattis described the evolving space environment and what the U.S. must do to prepare for future conflicts.
“It’s not about what you might think, guns in space shooting at each other,” he said. “For every satellite up, we’ll have a hundred more that could launch as fast as they’re taken out.”
Raytheon already produces small satellites and components at its advanced missile production lines, which focuses on making precise systems that can meet rapid market demand. Small satellites operate from lower orbits, can be less expensive and can be produced quickly at high volumes.
Space industry analysts estimate that 3,600 small satellites could be launched into orbit over the next decade. Raytheon has produced small satellites for the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space office.
Location is everything
Last September, Raytheon delivered to the U.S. Air Force the GPS Next-Generation Operational Control System launch and checkout system, called Block 0, that provides the computing hardware, operations center workstations and mission application software needed to launch and check the condition of all current and future-planned GPS III satellites.
In fall 2018, America will launch its very first modernized GPS III satellite into space, using GPS OCX.
“GPS OCX will be, without a doubt, the most secure system (of its kind) ever produced not only for the U.S. Air Force, but for the entire nation,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon's Intelligence, Information and Services business.
When the full delivery of GPS OCX is made in 2021, it will provide control of both legacy and modernized satellites and signals, including the new international L1C and modernized Military Code, or M-Code, signals.
Analytics that detect and protect
In January, the U.S. Department of Defense began 24/7 operations of the National Space Defense Center at Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. The aim is to develop and improve the nation’s ability to detect threats and defend space systems.
“This advancement immediately expands our space situational awareness and bolsters our readiness - both of which are absolutely critical to maintaining space superiority," said Gen. Jay Raymond, U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Force Space Component commander and commander of Air Force Space Command.
Raytheon’s Multi-INT analytics turn overwhelming volumes of data into targeted insights. They power resilient systems that respond, adapt and reconfigure depending on the situation and the mission.
“A resilient system can respond and adapt to every threat and every situation,” said Jane Chappell, Raytheon vice president of Global Information Services. “Technologies must adapt and change in real time to account for evolving mission(s).”