General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced that the U.S. Air Force (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has awarded the company the Hosted Payload Solutions (HoPS) Mission Delivery Order for the Argos Advanced Data Collection System (A-DCS).
Under the Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract, GA-EMS will launch a 110 kg Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite and integrate the Argos A-DCS payload which will be provided by the French Space Agency. The SMC HoPS program is designed to facilitate the placement of government payloads aboard commercial satellites.
“We are very pleased to have been selected as the hosted payload provider supporting the HoPS Argos A-DCS mission,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “Our OTB platform is well suited to the needs of customers like the Air Force, as the demand for more cost efficient solutions to deliver technologies to space continues to grow. By leveraging our scalable architectures, volume-efficient packaging, manufacturing expertise, and on-orbit experience, we can be more responsive and tailor platforms to meet our customer’s mission objectives.”
“This Air Force contract award further demonstrates the versatility of the OTB architecture and its utility to a number of applications,” stated Nick Bucci, vice president of Missile Defense and Space Systems at GA-EMS. “The contract award comes on the heels of our recent selection to host NASA’s Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) instrument payload. In addition, we have successfully built and are awaiting the launch of an OTB satellite hosting multiple payloads, including NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock and an AF Research Laboratory Modular Solar Array payload. We firmly believe our approach offers significant advantages to help rapidly and efficiently launch new missions into space.”
The Argos A-DCS mission is supported by the NOAA Cooperative Data and Rescue Services Program. Argos is an international program that collects data from thousands of sensors and transmitters located around the world. Currently, data is collected and distributed for use in numerous applications, including ocean buoy tracking, wildlife and fishery monitoring, and maritime security, as well as non-environmental uses.
GA-EMS hosted satellites provide a unique opportunity for customers to launch payloads into low Earth orbit without incurring the cost and schedule overhead normally associated with commissioning a full satellite mission. The versatile OTB satellite design provides the flexibility and scalability to suit a single mission payload or the simultaneous launch of multiple payloads on a single platform, providing a cost-efficient solution to meet a wide variety of requirements.