Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has successfully integrated four of the five payloads and a spacecraft de-orbit module onto STPSat-3, the Department of Defense Space Test Program's Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) slated to launch in August 2013. Integration of the four instruments and the MMA Design LLC De-Orbit Module was completed in 18 days.
STPSat-3 is a common spacecraft, standard payload interface series of satellites built by Ball Aerospace for the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate. The standard interface vehicle supports a variety of experimental and risk reduction payloads at various low-Earth orbits. The design is based on the flight-proven Ball Configurable Platform 100 (BCP-100) which is compatible with multiple launch vehicles.
"With a build time of 47 days for STPSat-3 and 18 days for integration, our spacecraft bus continues to demonstrate its rapid production and deployment capability," says David L. Taylor, Ball Aerospace president and CEO.
The first payload integrated to the spacecraft was the NOAA Total Solar Irradiance Calibration Transfer Experiment (TCTE), built by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. This instrument will help determine the effects of solar radiation on Earth's climate and will provide continuity of climate data record measurements prior to the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System in 2017. The JPSS-1 satellite is also being built by Ball Aerospace.
The additional four payloads integrated include: iMESA-R (Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer Reflight); SSU (Strip Sensor Unit); and SWATS (Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer). All of the integrated instruments have been individually tested. The spacecraft is currently proceeding through space vehicle system performance testing. Arrival and installation of the final payload, J-CORE (Joint Component Research), will be completed by the end of 2012.