BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has picked Northrop Grumman to develop a ground processing signal capability to support its commercially hosted IR satellite payload.
The infrared sensor payload was placed in geosynchronous orbit over the United States in September aboard an SES satellite.
The contract from the Space and Missile System Center's Development Planning Directorate for the Modular Architecture for Signal-processing, Tracking and Exploitation Research program is worth $5.75 million.
"MASTER provides an important sensor-agnostic ground processing capability for our customer," said Ron Alford, Northrop Grumman's director, sensor exploitation systems and Colorado campuses.
"The architecture utilizes an enterprise approach with an open architecture and plug-and-play components. In future data processing systems, measurable cost savings can be enjoyed by using the MASTER architecture to provide common processing capabilities across sensor types and system constellations without the need for customized processing chains.
"This approach not only reduces costs but facilitates new missions, new sensor/data providers and the participation of third parties in specialized processing algorithms for new and changing missions." Alford said.
Northrop said the architecture developed could be used by multiple types of sensors without the redundant cost of redeveloping the ground mission processing software.
The architecture, however, is only prototyped against overhead persistent infrared sensors. It has proved successful in integrating and using algorithms provided by third parties and in processing data from multiple OPIR sensors.