Ball Aerospace Yields Operational Control of STPSat 3 to US Air Force
[Via Satellite 01-10-2014] Ball Aerospace has handed over operational control of the Space Test Program Satellite 3 (STPSat 3) to the United States Air Force as the spacecraft begins its technology demonstration mission.
STPSat 3 was launched from Wallops Flight Center in Virginia on Nov. 19, 2013 aboard Orbital Sciences’ Minotaur 1 rocket along with 28 CubeSats as part of the Operationally Responsive Space 3 (ORS 3) mission. The spacecraft was fully checked out and operational within 71 hours of launch.
Ball designed the Standard Interface Vehicle (SIV), a common spacecraft bus with standard payload interfaces, for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). STPSat 3 is the second SIV developed by Ball, which is now part of the company’s Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) spacecraft line.
“We designed the SIV architecture to reduce the cost and time required to access space while maximizing the opportunities for suitable payloads,” said Dave Kaufman, vice president and general manager of Ball’s National Defense business unit.
Assembled in only 47 days, STPSat 3 repeatedly demonstrated the ability to add or remove payloads even after the spacecraft bus was completed. Roughly the size of a mini-refrigerator, the satellite carries five technology demonstration payloads and a de-orbit module for the DoD, NASA and NOAA.