U.S. Air Force STPSat-5 Satellite Fully Integrated Onboard SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle

The U.S. Air Force announced that its Space Test Program Mission 5 (STPSat-5) satellite had finished preparations and is fully integrated onboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle.

The satellite is scheduled to launch on Spaceflight Industries SSO-A SmallSat Express mission from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on Monday, November 19, 2018. SSO-A is a commercial launch mission provided by Spaceflight Industries and be launched into orbit aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch Vehicle.

STPSat-5 is a Department of Defense (DoD) science and technology mission designed to host five small DoD Space Experiment Review Board payloads. The mission will demonstrate the capabilities of low-cost spacecraft to meet the needs of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) missions.

The five payloads supporting the DoD’s science and technology mission are:

+ Strontium Iodide Radiation Instrumentation (SIRI) – U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
+ RAM Angle and Magnetic field Sensor (RAMS) – U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL)
+ Integrated Miniaturized Electro Static Analyzer (iMESA) – U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA)
+ Rad Hard Electronic Memory Experiment (RHEME) – U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)
+ High Bandwidth Anti-Jam LPI/LPD Optical Network (HALO-Net) – U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)

The satellite is a partnership between Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the four agencies developing the payloads. STPSat-5 is the first Air Force mission to be manifested aboard a commercially procured launch service.

SSO-A features an integrated stack comprised of two independent free-flier deployment systems capable of deploying up to 1500 kg. The mission will be carrying payloads from 35 government and commercial organizations from 18 different countries.

STPSat-5 is one of the first Air Force satellites to launch under the Space and Missile Systems Center’s SMC 2.0 initiative. SMC 2.0 focuses on improving innovation, strengthening current partnerships, and forging new partnerships with foreign allies and commercial space companies. STPSat-5 demonstrates how commercially-procured launch services can increase resiliency in the acquisition process by providing more flexible access to space for DoD capabilities.

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