The ground system developed for the newest generation of U.S. polar orbiting weather satellites is now supporting a Japanese environmental monitoring spacecraft that was launched in May, according to a Jan. 7 press release from Raytheon, the developer of the network.

The Common Ground System is now supporting five U.S., European and Japanese Earth observing satellites, according to Aurora, Colo.-based Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems. The latest addition is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Shizuku Global Change Observation Mission-1, which is equipped with a cloud piercing radar to monitor ice levels and ocean circulation around the world.

The Common Ground System was first deployed to support the October 2011 launch of NASA’s Suomi satellite, which was originally intended for research but has been pressed into operational services as part of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). The next satellite in that constellation, the nearly identical JPSS-1, is scheduled to launch around 2017.



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