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Program Keeps Satellites Connected at North Pole

The ground systems for the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program for the U.S. Air Force were completed in just five years.

Northrop Grumman has completed a five-year program to design, develop, test, and deliver the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program for the U.S. Air Force. The EPS provides jam-resistant satellite communications (satcom) technology for the north polar region in areas north of 65 deg. north latitude. The CAPS portion of the system receives telemetry and supplies configuration commands, mission planning, and cryptographic planning for two EPS polar-orbiting satellite payloads.

With its DD-250 documentation last autumn, the USAF validated delivery of the EPS CAPS program for the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) system and the completion of the original contract. Northrop Grumman was seeking additional contract work from the USAF. through December 2018 in a support role for the system.

“Our commitment to quality and performance underpinned our ability to deliver on a ground system of this complexity and strategic importance,” said Kenny Robinson, vice president of strategic force programs for Northrop Grumman. “We worked closely with our customer to meet all acceptance criteria, leading to a high-quality product that meets—and in many cases, exceeds—functional, performance, and security requirements. We are proud to serve as a mission partner on EPS CAPS and committed to supporting the Air Force as we prepare for initial operating capacity.”

The five-year program saw the completion of secure-communications ground systems that typically require 8 to 10 years to complete. In just five years, the EPS CAPS team completed a full life cycle of design, development, testing, and system acceptance. A follow-on support contract began in September 2017 and will cover 15 months of maintenance and support for the system. The MILSATCOM directorate at the Air Force's Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is acquiring EPS and EPS CAPS.

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