Boulder CO (SPX) Aug 03, 2010
Ball Aerospace and Technologies has shipped the STPSat-2 satellite built for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development and Test Wing (SDTW) to Alaska's Kodiak Launch Complex for scheduled liftoff aboard a Minotaur 4 rocket for a fall 2010 launch.
STPSat-2 is the first spacecraft for the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) program managed by Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, N.M. The STP-SIV architecture developed for STPSat-2 supports the Operationally Responsive Space strategy to ensure U.S. space superiority.
The STPSat-2 spacecraft provides a standard interface compatible for multiple launch vehicles that support a variety of experimental and risk reduction payloads at different low-Earth orbits.
This was demonstrated on STPSat-2 when a third payload was manifested following the Critical Design Review and then successfully integrated without spacecraft design modification. Using flight-proven hardware for the spacecraft (and developmental hardware only on the experimental payloads), each bus can accommodate up to four independent payloads, each one having its own separate power and data interface.
"STPSat-2 is putting responsive space into practice for the U.S. Air Force," said David L. Taylor, president and CEO of Ball Aerospace.
"This small but robust satellite provides a flexible solution for a variety of customer mission needs, from missile warning, to earth-remote sensing, to situational awareness."
Production is also continuing at Ball on the second STP-SIV, STPSat-3, an identical spacecraft that will host four DoD experimental payloads. The STPSat-3 spacecraft will be completed in November, with payloads integrated in the first quarter of 2011.
In addition to STPSat-2, the Minotaur 4 rocket will launch two FASTRAC spacecraft from the University of Texas, the Air Force Academy's FalconSat 5 satellite, NASA's O/OREOS CubeSat mission, and NASA's FASTSAT (Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite), which includes the Threat Detection System built by Ball Aerospace for the Air Force Research Lab/Space-Based Advanced Sensing and Protection Branch for detecting tracking, and characterizing space objects and the space environment.
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