As per the latest news Northrop Grumman would manufacture 2 satellites for Space Norway, both of them will have a payload for the American Air Force, Inmarsat and Norwegian Ministry of Defense. On July 3, Space Norway made an announcement about the purchase. They had made a selection between an American satellite manufacturing company and Northrop Grumman.
In a public statement, one of the spokesperson of Space Norway stated that in 2022 SpaceX will use its Falcon9 rocket to launch both the satellites. These two satellites will act as a core for Arctic Satellite Broadband Mission. They are designed to operate at elliptical orbits, and provide broadband connectivity at latitudes beyond which a geostationary satellite could get. Geostationary satellites provide impeccable coverage above the equator, ASBM satellites cover Arctic Circle through the use of unique orbit and cover the area of 65-degrees north as well as above it.
Kjell-Ove Skare said that these satellites will help the scientists to fill in the communication gap at the Arctic Circle. He also said that high elliptical orbit mission is very cost effective to solve the problem. Back in April, Stig Nilsson said that Norwegian Ministry is advocating lifting-off multiple payloads through same aircraft as standalone satellites will cost a large amount.
ASBM satellites contain X-band payload on behalf of Norwegian Ministry of Defense, payload for American Air Force Extremely High Frequency communication, Space Norway’s payload for commercial Ka-band which is leased by Inmarsat. Skare stated that the design of ASBM satellites is identical except one can carry monitoring sensor. One of the official of Space Norway stated that constellation of ASBM is thoroughly financed as per agreements made by customers and has an expected service life about 15 years.
The weight of each ASBM spacecraft will be around 2000 kilograms which is lighter in comparison to big communication satellites; they generate a power of 6 kilowatts. One of the spokesperson of KSAT stated that the company will manufacture 4 antennas prior ASBM launch so that it can improve the communication between the two satellites.