Northrop, Ball Aerospace to Build Sensor for US Missile Warning Satellites

Northrop Grumman and fellow American firm Ball Aerospace have announced that they will jointly develop infrared sensors for the US Space Force’s future polar-orbiting missile warning satellites.

As part of the initiative, the consortium will build necessary technology for two Next-Generation Overhead Persistent (NGP) Infrared Polar satellites to support their ability to detect and track infrared heat signatures.

An enhanced communication system will transmit mission data to the ground and allow the US Space Force to determine if objects are ballistic or hypersonic projectiles.

In addition to developing sensor payloads, the firms will perform systems engineering, flight hardware, ground system design and development, and risk reduction to prepare the technology for future critical design review.

“NGP combines Northrop Grumman’s proven experience in missile warning and defense with Ball Aerospace’s expertise in optical sensors and mission data processing,” Northrop vice president Sarah Willoughby said.

She added that the partnership’s combined sensor solutions for the missile warning satellites would assure “continuous coverage of the northern hemisphere,” particularly in the critical Arctic region.

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