WASHINGTON — A ground station developed by Northrop Grumman for missile warning satellites has passed a preliminary design review, the company announced June 1. 

The terminal, known as Relay Ground Station-Asia (RGS-A), was funded by the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific under a five-year $99.6 million contract. Northrop Grumman is developing the ground station in Boulder, Colorado, where the company last year opened a 23,680-square-foot facility.

RGS-A will serve as a communications relay station to forward signals between different satellite networks that detect missile launches. It will allow Navy ballistic missile ships, for example, to receive early warnings from existing infrared sensor satellites and from next-generation systems that have yet to be launched to orbit.

Ground station to be deployed in Guam

The completion of the design review “is the next step in delivering much-needed new capabilities to the Pacific region,” Aaron Dann, vice president of strategic force programs at Northrop Grumman, said in a statement.

NIWC Pacific ordered the ground station to ensure users are able to receive data from the current Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites and the future Next-Generation Overhead Infrared constellation that will have a new ground system known as FORGE (Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution).

“A cornerstone of the FORGE architecture includes developing relay ground stations capable of supporting existing and new satellite constellations with the ability to handle changes in bandwidth and availability,” Dann said. 

RGS-A is projected to have six antennas, and will be deployed in Guam in late 2025, according to Northrop Grumman. The antennas will be remotely monitored and operated from the United States.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...