In the vast expanse of the Universe, the quest for knowledge and to reveal its profound mysteries has consistently caught our curiosity. At the forefront of this quest stands several high-profile space missions – one of them is the XRISM satellite, a collaboration between three space organizations. Providing support and expertise, SSC is set to help unveil the mysteries of the Universe.
The XRISM satellite mission aims to revolutionize X-ray sky observations for astronomers through a strategic collaboration between three major space agencies: NASA, JAXA, and ESA. It is a unique mission, set to provide insight into the structural formation of the Universe, feedback from galaxies and active galaxy nuclei, and reveal the history of material circulation from stars to galaxy clusters. The XRISM satellite is designed to study the Universe’s X-ray emissions with unprecedented precision to broaden and deepen our understanding of how humanity fits into the Universe. Something us humans have been curious about since the beginning.
On September 6, 2023, the XRISM spacecraft was successfully launched onboard a H-IIA vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan. During the mission, SSC served as Peraton’s commercial ground station partner, supporting the mission throughout the satellite’s Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), and providing routine support after the LEOP. This means that when the satellite was released into orbit by the launch vehicle, it was carefully tracked by SSC Connect ground stations until it reached its final orbit.
“The LEOP phase is always a delicate moment where it is crucial to have the right resources and expertise to support permanent contact with the spacecraft to help it reach its orbital position. SSC has a long history of performing LEOPs at a cadence never reached before, and our expertise in the field has played a significant role in this mission,” says Katarina Lahti, Service Delivery Global Manager at SSC.
The mission had a successful LEOP that moved along swiftly. The official LEOP time was 72 hours, with SSC supporting the mission for a longer period of around 2 weeks. This ensured that SSC had the time to try all the sites under different conditions in a short amount of time, which is beneficial for observing behaviors and trends, as well as increasing exposure to the various scenarios beforehand.
“The mission presented many unique challenges. Through a cohesive collaboration and open communications channels, we have been able to support the dynamic early-mission environment to ensure a successful LEOP of XRISM, and to move towards routine operations. The dynamic has been really good and it’s cool to see the organizations operate together,” says Joseph Budd, Systems Engineer at SSC.
“Peraton is proud to partner with SSC to provide the infrastructure necessary to help unveil the mysteries of the cosmos and strengthen the space posture of our nation and allies,” says David Cunniff, Space Strategist at Peraton.
SSC has a long-lasting relationship with Peraton, which is the prime contractor for NASA’s Space Exploration Network Services & Evolution (SENSE) contract. Peraton provides operations and maintenance and full lifecycle communications and tracking service support to NASA. As a subcontractor on SENSE, SSC supports this work through its SSC Connect ground station network.
Katarina Lahti continues: “SSC’s mission is to empower spacecraft operators in fulfilling their core mission objectives by providing reliable ground station expertise and infrastructure for seamless connectivity. Guided by our belief in the vital significance of space and its transformative impact on our daily lives on Earth, we enable our customers to focus on their goals while relying on SSC’s trusted solutions. We wish good continuation to the XRISM mission.”
In the ever-expanding realm of space exploration, the XRISM satellite mission represents a significant milestone in our ongoing quest to unravel the mysteries of the Universe. One of many that will shape the future of humankind.
To learn more about XRISM mission, visit: XRISM | NASA
Through Connect LEOP, SSC supports satellite operators through the initial, mission-critical stage. The service offers robust support to a significant number of missions annually, encompassing a wide spectrum of endeavors. To learn more visit: SSC Connect LEOP
Peraton is a national security company that drives missions of consequence spanning the globe and extending to the farthest reaches of the galaxy. To learn more, visit peraton.com
Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab