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Communication

SNC’s Space Systems builds platforms for communication missions that are able to host a variety of communication instruments and payloads. As an example, our SN-100 spacecraft platform provides the basis for the ORBCOMM Generation 2 (OG2) low-Earth orbit (LEO) constellation of asset-tracking machine-to-machine (M2M) communication satellites, providing 12 times performance increase over the first generation. We are building, testing and delivering 18 OG2 satellites, including the integration of a sophisticated software-defined radio communication payload. SNC also developed a platform for specialized communications in geosynchronous orbit (GEO). This small GEO spacecraft can serve to test new communications technologies or provide operators with an agile platform to ensure efficient orbital slot utilization. These satellites are fabricated in our dedicated, high-throughput spacecraft production environment in our Louisville, Colorado facility.
 

ORBCOMM Generation 2 Program


SNC is prime contractor for the 18 next-generation ORBCOMM communication satellites, providing global M2M and AIS services.


Six OG2 satellites were launched in July 2014

The ORBCOMM Generation 2 production satellite program is a commercial satellite contract to design, manufacture, and deliver 18 low-Earth orbit communications satellites. The OG2 constellation supports worldwide asset tracking for commercial customers, as well as Automatic Identification System (AIS) data for the U.S. Coast Guard and other users. SNC is the prime contractor for the OG2 constellation, providing the SN-100 spacecraft bus platform and integrating the sophisticated software-defined radio payload. All aspects of payload integration, system-level performance and environmental test are done in-house at our Louisville, CO facility. We have successfully managed the large team of technical subcontractors providing subsystems and components for the OG2 spacecraft. In addition, we have driven significant innovation in our manufacturing and test processes to increase interchangeability and re-use of major subsystems and components of the OG2 spacecraft. This approach has contributed to an OG2 design optimized for streamlined Assembly, Integration and Test (AI&T), applicable to all of our low-cost production programs.

The OG2 (SN-100) platform design is optimized to minimize the amount of touch labor necessary during AI&T and payload integration. The resulting streamlined assembly process and documentation approach greatly reduces recurring costs on multiple spacecraft builds. On OG2, SNC also developed modular, reusable automated test scripts for AI&T, enabling the rapid production of 18 satellites, significantly reducing recurring costs.

Six operational OG2 satellites were launched in July 2014 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX is scheduled to loft 11 more satellites for the OG2 program near the end of 2014.