Northrop Grumman has developed an electrical engineering model testbed for the early conduct of the satellite integration and test (I&T) processes of the US Air Force (USAF) defence weather satellite system (DWSS).

The newly developed testbed will help reduce risk for the satellite subsystems, thereby lowering the total projected cost of the I&T programme.

The testbed is integrated with a command and data handling (C&DH) subsystem featuring spacecraft control, payload support processors and data server units for data storage and transmission.

Northrop has recently added early attitude control subsystem (ACS) flight software and a vehicle dynamics simulator to the testbed.
USAF has contracted Northrop to develop two satellites for the DWSS that will provide crucial weather information for battlefield operations.

The company is currently conducting ACS and ground system flight software testing for the first of the two satellites scheduled for launch by 2018.