WASHINGTON — Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems moved 70 employees to Riverdale, Maryland, from Aurora, Colorado, to be closer to the ground system the company is upgrading for the next U.S. civilian weather polar-orbiting satellite system, the company said March 26.

“The move ensures we are sustaining the program in close proximity to our customer, and enables efficient extensibility of the common ground system to new missions,” Mark Sargent, Raytheon’s Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) Common Ground System program director, said in the press release.

Raytheon’s JPSS Common Ground System contract with NASA is worth about $1.7 billion. NASA manages satellite acquisitions for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which pays for and operates the U.S. civil weather fleet.

NOAA is headquartered in Washington. The agency’s Satellite Operations Center is located in nearby Suitland, Maryland. The JPSS program is designed to maintain global weather coverage in the early afternoon hours through 2038. Ball Aerospace built the first JPSS program satellite, Suomi NPP, and is building JPSS-1. Orbital ATK will build at least the next JPSS satellite, and possibly the next three, under a NASA contract announced March 23.
JPSS-1 is set to launch in 2017.


Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...