Boeing Defense, Space & Security2008-04-21 15:40:15

Boeing and Ball Aerospace Achieve New Milestone for SBSS Program

The Space Based Space Surveillance (SBSS) System Block 10 team, led by Boeing [NYSE: BA] with Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. [NYSE: BLL] providing the space vehicle, today announced completion of the payload electronics, high-speed gimbal and testing of the space vehicle's visible sensor, enabling the start of payload integration and test.

The SBSS gimbal and visible sensor enable responsive tasking as events in space warrant. The Boeing-provided onboard payload computer performs immediate detection of space objects and provides future capability for improved Block 10 performance. Boeing's architectural analysis shows this combination of capabilities significantly improves space situational awareness.

"With the completion of the visible sensor, gimbal and payload electronics, 85 percent of the SBSS flight hardware is complete," said Jeff Osterkamp, Ball Aerospace vice president for National Defense Solutions and Program Management. "The integration of the milestones demonstrates the team's ability to develop state-of-the-art systems."

Prior to integration, the successful gimbal function test verified maximum slew rate, acceleration and range-of-motion capabilities for the gimbal, a two-axis system that rotates and points the 500-pound payload. The Ball Aerospace beryllium yoke design enables the gimbal's agility and maneuverability. In recent months, Ball also successfully completed assembly and acceptance testing of the platform's propulsion subsystem.

"This is a big milestone for the SBSS program and a leap in technology improvements in support of space situational awareness," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager for Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "The completion of this hardware and associated software brings us closer to launch readiness."

The SBSS program consists of a constellation of satellites that will further increase capacity and timeliness of detecting and tracking orbiting space objects, including potential future threats to the United States' space assets. The U.S. Department of Defense will use data generated by the system to support worldwide military operations.

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