Northrop Grumman hones US Space Force satellite design in virtual environment
Northrop Grumman has refined the design of the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) Polar (NGP) satellite using Highly Immersive Virtual Environment (HIVE) technology. The satellites are being built for US Space Systems Command (SSC).
HIVE allows engineers to design, build, maintain and service satellites in virtual reality before hardware is manufactured or procured. Use of real-time modelling, simulation, visualisation and human interaction reduce technical costs and risks early in development phases.
The two NGP satellites will provide sensor coverage over the northern hemisphere to help deter and defend against ballistic and hypersonic missiles.
In a HIVE demonstration conducted at Northrop Grumman's Redondo Beach, California, site, engineers used VR goggles and motion-capture suits to simulate integration and assembly of key components. They validated the NGP design and will use the technology in the next stages of the satellites’ development.
In March 2022 Northrop Grumman announced its partnership with Ball Aerospace to design and develop the two NGP satellite payloads in the first phase of a $1.89 billion SSC contract.
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