Ball's spacecraft set for launch

Nov. 18, 2010 at 12:54 PM   |   Comments

BOULDER, Colo., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Ball Aerospace's First Standard Interface Vehicle built for the U.S. Air Force is to be launched Friday from a complex in Alaska.

STPSat-2 is the first spacecraft in Ball's STP Standard Interface Vehicle product line that is compatible with multiple launch vehicles and supports a variety of experimental and risk-reduction payloads at different low-Earth orbits.

The standard payload interface can support up to four independent payloads, each having its separate power and data interface. STPSat-2 is one of seven satellites and 16 experiments to make up the STP-S26 mission.

The two experiments mounted on the payload standard interface module of the first STP-SIV satellite include the Space Phenomenology Experiment, which includes two payloads to evaluate sensor compatibility for the space environment; and the Ocean Data Telemetry MicroSatLink, which will relay data from ocean and terrestrial sensors to users.

"The beauty of the responsive spacecraft bus used for STPSat-2 is its ability to accommodate a broad range of payloads," said David L. Taylor, president and chief executive officer of Ball Aerospace. "The repeatable design provides low-cost space access for the Air Force while accelerating the build schedule and reducing risk."

Ball Aerospace will complete work on an identical STP-SIV -- STPSat-3 spacecraft by the end of 2010 that will host four experimental military payloads.

Ball Aerospace was awarded a contract in 2006 for up to six STP-SIV spacecraft.

STPSat-2 is the first spacecraft for the Department of Defense Space Test Program Standard Interface Vehicle program managed by the Space Development and Test Wing at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque.

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