Our US Field Office

Space Norway’s two highly elliptical satellites launch from Vandenberg, California. They are being built by Northrop Grumman (NG), also located in the US. The Arctic Broadband Satellite Mission (ASBM) programme has hired a team in the US to monitor the process leading up to launch.

Oddveig Tretterud is the project manager for the ASBM programme, responsible for the Space project and keeping an eye on the building of the satellite and the launch. Oddveig travelled to Dulles in Washington DC in 2020, where NG has its headquarters to put together our Field Office. She has extensive experience in building satellites along with having worked several years in the US before. She knows the business and she knows which skills are needed to manage the complicated business of building satellites.

The satellites Space Norway has bought from NG are by no means mass produced, they are very complex. Overseeing the building of this very logistically challenging operation requests technically demanding practical work. Decisions must be made quickly, and someone needs to be present at the supplier’s location every day. These processes never run smoothly, assessments and choices must be made continuously making client presence a necessity to ensure the best possible product delivery. In addition to Oddveig, her team consists of highly experienced consultants with detailed knowledge of the different disciplines of a satellite project. Her team is comprised by Jim, Roland and Chris, three engineers with decades of experience from similar programmes for Telesat, a large Canadian satellite company. Additionally, working together with our team are two people from our client Inmarsat and one person from the US Space Force.

The daily routine involves meetings with the supplier, first during the design phase dominated by analysis and assessments towards the program specifications. Once the design is approved, extensive testing on each component commences at the production site before delivery at NG for integration on the satellite platform. There, testing at system level starts. The process of testing is considerable, and all test results are discussed and assessed. If a test fails for some reason, detailed processes to identify, repair and recreate the failure are instigated. Agreement on why the failure happened and consensus that all measures are taken to ensure that it will not happen again, are needed before further testing can continue. The Field Office is involved in all these stages, all the while reporting back home on status, progress, areas of risk and measures. The team additionally coordinates communication between NG and the rocket supplier, SpaceX.

Our Field Office tracks the process from the design phase, through building and testing. When the building is complete and the satellites are ready, they are transported to the launch site. After launch, the test regimen continues in orbit. And then, finally, control of the satellites is transferred to satellite operations and the job is done for our Field Office.

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