Orbital Sciences Launches Ball Aerospace-built STPSat 3 Satellite
[Via Satellite 11-20-13] Last night at 8:15 p.m. EST, Orbital Sciences launched the Ball Aerospace-built STPSat 3 satellite onboard a Minotaur 1 rocket. The satellite was launched as one of 29 separable payloads on board, with the remaining 28 being all cubesats. STPSat 3 was built for the United States Department of Defense and is part of the Operationally Responsive Space 3 (Ors 3) mission.
STPSat 3 joins its predecessor STPSat 2, which launched in 2010 on the same date and was also built by Ball Aerospace. These satellites demonstrate the ability to rapidly access space by using standard interfaces on a standard spacecraft bus. Payloads are designed to be compatible with the spacecraft bus, resulting in lower spacecraft non-recurring costs, shorter acquisition timelines, decreased spacecraft build costs, and increased spaceflight opportunities.
“Standard interfaces allowed rapid satellite integration and test, and for the spacecraft bus to be built in 47 days independently of the payloads,” said Rob Strain, president, Ball Aerospace. “In less than a year, STPSat 3 was an integrated, fully tested and ready-to-ship satellite with five payloads and a de-orbit module.”
One of the instruments onboard the satellite, the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE) is a sensor hosted for NOAA and NASA. The sensor, built by Colorado University-Boulder Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, will provide for continual calibration of the sun’s total energy input to the Earth, which affects Earth’s atmosphere and weather patterns.