The Boeing Co. [BA] completed a $10 million, 20,500-square-foot satellite Mission Control Center (MCC) in El Segundo, Calif.
The MCC can manage up to four commercial or government satellite missions simultaneously, replacing another Boeing facility in El Segundo that was smaller and had limited capacity.
Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Space and Intelligence Systems in Boeing Network and Space Systems, said that center personnel will monitor the health of a spacecraft from the time it is mated to the launch vehicle through in-orbit testing.
The Air Force is expected to be the first customer of the new center and will use it to manage an element of the military’s Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) mission.
Boeing has a long history of proven performance for the Air Force and is currently manufacturing satellites for the WGS mission, the Global Positioning System and the Space- Based Space Surveillance system.
A Boeing-led team is also competing to build the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Space Segment, which will provide military users with proven networked packet-switching technology for breakthrough mobile communications. Boeing’s Team TSAT includes Cisco Systems, Hughes, IBM [IBM], Harris Corp., Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., LGS Innovations, Raytheon Co. [RTN], General Dynamics Corp. [GD] unit C4S, L-3 Communications [LLL], BBN Technologies, EMS Technologies and SAIC. They are under contract for the TSAT risk reduction and system demonstration phase. The Air Force is expected to announce the winner of the multibillion-dollar TSAT Space Segment contract later this year.
The new MCC is located next to Boeing’s satellite factory and features more than 100 engineering workstations that will be used for satellite operations. From these consoles, satellite operators and other experts can monitor a satellite’s health and safety, conduct satellite maneuvers for placement into proper orbit, send software updates and provide other support throughout the life of the spacecraft.
Boeing has developed a new computer network architecture for the center’s four control suites that allows engineers to change the configuration from one unique mission to another in as little as a few days. At the old center, such reconfigurations would have taken much longer. The new MCC was designed with the flexibility to add additional control suites to respond to market needs.