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Lockheed’s next-gen OPIR Block 0 GEO satellites pass critical design review

In order to increase speed, resilience, and cyber-hardening, NGG is being built on Lockheed Martin's LM 2100 Combat Bus.
Photo credit: Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin and the US Space Force have conducted the system level Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (NGG) Block 0 space programme.

Under the NGG Block 0 programme, Lockheed Martin in partnership with the US Space Force is developing and building three satellites that provide improved missile warning capabilities and are even more resilient against emerging threats. Carrying new advanced infrared sensors that can detect dimmer and faster targets, the first satellite is racing to launch in 2025.

Dubbed by the US Department of Defense as a “Go Fast” acquisition programme – meaning a quicker delivery timeline – NGG will provide early warning for the defensive “kill chain” that protects the nation and armed forces from missile threats. The new system responds to challenges from rival nations that increasingly seek to erode space advantages held by the United States.

Joseph Rickers, Lockheed Martin Vice President and Program Manager for NGG Block 0, said: “Our adversaries are finding ways to make missile warning more difficult. They are also posing threats to space assets themselves. NGG was specifically designed as a ‘Go Fast’ programme to maintain and grow our nation’s advanced technology edge ahead of the threat.”

The NGG Block 0 programme held the system-level CDR on October 28, maintaining the programme’s accelerated pace. The CDR specifically addressed the integration between the space and ground segments in addition to the integration of the Next Generation Interim Operations Ground System with the legacy Missile Warning system, enabling the enhanced missile warning capabilities following launch.

Earlier this year, under Lockheed Martin’s prime contractor leadership, NGG completed CDRs for two mission payloads being competitively developed by subcontractor teams Raytheon and a Northrop Grumman/Ball team. One of the two mission payloads will each fly on the first two NGG space vehicles. The team completed a separate space vehicle CDR, which aggregated numerous subsystem and payload reviews, and locked in the satellite’s technical baseline.

Rickers added: “A space programme of this size, which includes developing two entirely new missile warning payloads, has never moved this fast. The programme is on schedule due to using proven technologies and risk mitigation tools like subsystem prototypes for early design verification and interface integration to ensure we remain on track.”

Lockheed Martin’s NGG programme is embracing digital transformation as a way to deliver next-generation capabilities quicker and faster. It is being built on Lockheed Martin’s LM 2100 Combat Bus. This modernised space vehicle provides enhanced spacecraft power, propulsion and electronics, as well as common components and procedures to streamline manufacturing. It features a flexible design that reduces the cost to incorporate future, modernised sensor suites or other mission augmentation capabilities.