Press Release

Industry Team Contributes to Precision Tracking Space System Project

Thu, 08/04/2011 - 14:39

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., is advising the Missile Defense Agency as MDA develops a plan for streamlined production and fielding of a future space-borne sensor known as the Precision Tracking Space System (PTSS).

PTSS will enable the early intercept of enemy ballistic missiles and increase the missile raid handling capacity of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System. MDA is developing PTSS using a proven acquisition approach: initial design and development performed by a team of government and military laboratories with industry involvement, followed by a competitive procurement with industry for production.

APL is the technical lead of the development team. In that role, APL has awarded subcontracts to six companies that will form a Manufacturing and Production Readiness Integrated Systems Engineering Team (ISET). Under APL leadership, the ISET will conduct engineering studies that analyze the consequences of choices facing MDA — decisions that affect the cost and ability of industry to eventually produce PTSS.

The Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation, Boeing Company, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Northrop Grumman Corporation Aerospace Systems, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and Raytheon Company Space and Airborne Systems were chosen through a competitive process. Because these companies have successfully manufactured complex space and weapon systems, MDA is looking to them for the lessons they have learned about the transition from development to production of these systems.

“The PTSS program significantly benefits from this early industry role,” says Patrick Stadter, PTSS program manager at APL. “It ensures that industry ideas are considered when developing the technical and functional baseline for PTSS. It also provides independent feedback on the PTSS concept and requirements. Therefore, it is an important mechanism that ensures that the PTSS baseline system can be implemented by industry within programmatic constraints and that industry is openly informed of system needs before acquisition of the operational system.”

Approved for Public Release, 11-MDA-6295 (29 July 11)