Lockheed Martin awarded contract to monitor orbiting space objects
Lockheed Martin will continue tracking and sharing data on orbiting space assets and debris through a $3.9 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center.
Under this contract, Lockheed Martin will continue to develop the Non-Traditional Data Pre-Processor (NDPP) under the Integrated Space Command and Control (ISC2) contract.
ISC2 is responsible for providing conclusive and timely air and missile warning information to the president of the United States, joint chiefs of staff and the prime minister of Canada if North America ever comes under attack. In addition, ISC2 provides space situational awareness to the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and Air Force Space Command utilizing inputs from the Space Surveillance Network to accurately track and catalog more than 23,000 space objects.
The NDPP is a key step forward in exposing data in support of the protection of valuable space assets, such as the International Space Station. In 2009, the Iridium-33 communications satellite and Russia’s Kosmos-2251 military satellite collided creating a large amount of space debris. Since that time, government and commercial organizations around the globe have been working to improve space object tracking through improved collaboration.
“The cars we drive on Earth have mirrors and sensors to prevent bumps and scrapes, but if you’re trying to avoid rapidly moving debris in space, you’ll need enhanced situational awareness,” said Rob Smith, vice president of C4ISR Systems with Lockheed Martin IS&GS. “Space has no national borders so it’s important to share collected data to protect all the space assets currently orbiting the planet.”
The NDPP system is an expansion of the ISC2 space data server, and it extends the communications infrastructure allowing operators to share data between sensor and satellite sources around the world with the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The JSpOC maintains the space object catalog that many countries depend on to safeguard the valuable investment they have in space.
NDPP will provide a conduit across multiple security levels that will allow both sensor and satellite operators around the world to share data to improve the accuracy of the space object catalog. In return, sensor and satellite operators will have a new tool for receiving timely space object catalog products.