Boeing subsidiary Millennium Space Systems recently completed environmental testing for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) Wide Field of View (WFOV) early warning satellite at Boeing’s Space Environment Test Facility in El Segundo.
The geosynchronous satellite will support the next-generation overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) mission and provide critical risk reduction and mission data that will inform Air Force Space Command’s next-generation missile warning system.
According to the WFOV program office, SMC is pleased with just how well the thermal vacuum (TVAC) campaign was conducted and the complete access to the test facility. The TVAC campaign went very smoothly and eliminated significant potential program risk.
“We’ve passed one of the largest hurdles remaining for the WFOV program,” said Maj. Brian Curd, chief, OPIR Advanced Payloads and Demonstrations. “Now that we’ve successfully completed all primary phases of the environmental test campaign, we’re looking forward to buttoning up the satellite and getting it on orbit as soon as possible. It will be a great asset to national defense.”
The test teams subjected the satellite to a series of sound tests to simulate liftoff and ascent as well as to extreme temperature swings in the large thermal-vacuum chamber to simulate the space environment. The satellite’s systems were also evaluated for potential electromagnetic interference in a highly specialized, noise-free anechoic chamber.
“Environmental test completion marks the end of the largest and most comprehensive set of space simulation tests in Millennium Space Systems’ 18-year history,” said Duane Dier, Millennium’s WFOV program manager. “These successful tests further demonstrate Millennium’s commitment to providing cost-effective and schedule-efficient solutions to our U.S. government customers with flawless execution.”
Sponsored by the Space and Missile Systems Center and managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center, the mid-sized geosynchronous spacecraft is based on Millennium’s AQUILA M8 affordable platform series and hosts a transformational OPIR six-degree staring sensor developed under a separate contract by L3Harris Technologies.
WFOV is manifested on a United Launch Alliance ATLAS V rocket currently targeted for launch in 2021.