To commemorate 40 years of exceptional reliability and on-orbit performance of its Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites, Northrop Grumman Corporation has configured a full-size model of a DSP satellite for display at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
The 35-foot-long model is the only full-size representation of the satellite. It consists of the Structural Test Model (STM) mated to the Infrared Sensor Trailblazer component without the associated electronics. Crews completed work in May and the model was shipped in July to the museum aboard a C5 aircraft, in the same shipping container used for the actual satellite.
The configuration of the satellite model was performed as part of the company's closeout of DSP production contracts for the Air Force.
"We are honored the Air Force has accepted our model to celebrate the 40-year history of DSP's robust performance as one of the nation's vital missile early warning systems," said David DiCarlo, sector vice president and general manager, Space Systems Division. "The DSP constellation continues to provide outstanding mission analysis data from its infrared sensor."
"We are proud to have produced the payload for the primary DSP mission at our facility in Azusa, Calif.," noted John Johnson, sector vice president and general manager, ISR Systems Division, Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. "A display in the Wright-Patterson Museum is a fitting tribute to one of the most successful programs in the history of the U.S. Air Force."
In 2008, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center awarded a contract to the company to provide technical support for the operational DSP spacecraft, primary infrared sensor and mission analysis. The cost-plus award fee contract is valued at $206 million, which includes the initial year followed by four one-year options. The company is in the second year of the contract.
Northrop Grumman built the DSP infrared sensors in Azusa, Calif., and integrated them with the DSP spacecraft in Redondo Beach, Calif. DSP support and sustainment work will continue at both sites.
DSP satellite deployment during STS-44. Credit: NASA
The first DSP was launched in 1970 and the final DSP was orbited in 2007. Several times throughout production, the spacecraft and sensor were upgraded to protect against evolving worldwide threats. DSP satellites have demonstrated exceptional reliability, providing an extra 184 satellite-years beyond their required life on-orbit to date.