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General Dynamics demos SGSS Command and Control Infrastructure for NASA
by Staff Writers
Fairfax VA (SPX) Nov 13, 2015

The new SGSS ground system architecture will ensure the Space Network will continue to provide global space-to-ground telecommunications and tracking coverage for Earth orbit and near-Earth space flight missions.

A General Dynamics-led team successfully completed, on-schedule, the next phase of the implementation, integration and test of the NASA Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) program, Increment A4. This increment includes the ground antenna and associated control systems that are housed in a Space Network Operations Center. The team also completed an end-to-end demonstration of the Increment A4 capability to maneuver a simulated tracking and data relay system satellite.

In parallel with the work done on Increment A4, the team successfully completed final acceptance testing of the narrowband and wideband modems used to send and receive space information from the ground to the satellite and back. The team also delivered the telemetry, tracking and control software that manages flight operations aboard all three generations of tracking and data relay satellite system (TDRSS) satellites.

"This milestone, combined with program achievements earlier this year, means that more than 80 percent of the new software needed to bring SGSS on line in 2017 is complete," said Manny Mora, vice president and general manager of Space and Intelligence Systems for General Dynamics Mission Systems. "The General Dynamics team continues to work closely with its NASA partners to drive these program schedule achievements."

The development, integration and testing for Increment A4 took place at the General Dynamics' SGSS development and test laboratory located in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Built to the specifications of a NASA Space Network ground station, every piece of software and hardware used for SGSS is rigorously tested in the General Dynamics lab in conditions that simulate day-to-day operations in a live ground system station. In addition to testing in Scottsdale, integration testing included collaboration with NASA facilities in Greenbelt, Md., and Pasadena, Calif.

The next SGSS increment to transition from the development phase into system integration and test will be Increment A5. This increment focuses on operator interfaces in Mission Operation Centers and is scheduled for mid-2016. The final increment is A6, and is on track for completion in late 2016.

The new SGSS ground system architecture will ensure the Space Network will continue to provide global space-to-ground telecommunications and tracking coverage for Earth orbit and near-Earth space flight missions.

Operating out of the White Sands Complex in New Mexico and TDRSS Ground Terminals in Guam and Blossom Point, Md., the new system will have the capacity to increase network capabilities that will be needed for future space missions by accommodating larger quantities of data and higher data rates.

General Dynamics is collaborating on the contract with a team of small and large businesses with extensive NASA experience, including Harris Corporation, Melbourne, Fla.; MetiSpace Technologies, Rockville, Md.; Orbit Logic, Greenbelt Md.; Rincon Research Corporation, Tucson, Ariz.; a.i. Solutions, Lanham, Md.; RT Logic, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Qwaltec of Tempe, Ariz.

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