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USAF, Northrop Conclude Critical Design Review of Polar Satcom Program

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The U.S. Air Force and Northrop Grumman have completed a critical design review under a program that aims to deploy satellite communications payloads in the North Polar Region.

The Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization program would deliver eXtended Data Rate payloads that would operate in the region until USAF gets access to polar variants of protected and evolved satcom technology in the 2030s, Los Angeles AF Base said Monday.

The CDR revolved around the use of a new space vehicle that would host the payloads. The review’s completion concluded over two months of design assessments and allows the program to begin manufacturing activities.

“The EPS-R program’s unprecedented approach leverages best practices of our commercial space vehicle and commercial launch vehicle providers while collaborating with our Norwegian partners, and will prevent a protected communication coverage gap for warfighters in the Arctic region until future systems are available,” said Maj. John Gomez, EPS-R payload program manager.

Northrop’s aerospace systems business develops the program’s payloads under a $410M contract that will continue to run for four years.