The U.S. Space Force has partnered with Norway’s government on a payload hosting initiative aimed at augmenting satellite communications for U.S. military forces operating in polar regions.
Space Systems Command said Friday its Enhanced Polar Systems-Recapitalization program seeks to use a Norwegian spacecraft to deploy a military satcom system designed to extend legacy EPS services to the mid-2030s.
SSC is ready to ship the first of two extremely high frequency EPS-R payloads made by Northrop Grumman for integration with Norway’s space vehicles, following a readiness review that concluded at the end of September. Early 2023 is the scheduled date for a dual launch with the allied spacecraft.
“The EPS-R fills the gap between the EPS and the [Evolved Strategic Satcom], which is scheduled to launch in approximately 2033. Rather than create a separate program, this allows us to leverage all the documents, framework and team members to develop and launch two additional payloads to bridge the gap before ESS,” said Lt. Matthew Philichi, EPS-R project officer responsible for shipping at SSC.
Norway’s Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission will operate with the EPS-R payload and the U.S. expects to generate over $900 million in cost savings.
The program is also projected to deliver its payloads three years earlier than a traditional satellite procurement effort.
“The U.S. and Norway have a common interest in defense and recognize the benefits to be obtained from standardization, rationalization, integration and interoperability of communications systems,” said William Leach, associate director of global partnerships at Aerospace Corp.