Modular Space Vehicle completes test

May 29, 2013 at 11:32 AM
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REDONDO BEACH, Calif., May 29 (UPI) -- The third gate review of the a Modular Space Vehicle bus assembly for the U.S. Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space-2 program has been completed.

The functional testing was conducted by a Northrop Grumman-led team. A comprehensive "day in the life" testing next for the Operationally Responsive Space-2 bus, leading to hardware acceptance by the Air Force's ORS program office will follow.

"Completing these test processes will show that our design meets ORS' program objective requirements and moves the government closer to the launch of this first-of-its-kind vehicle that could revolutionize the way spacecraft are built," said Doug Young, vice president, Missile Defense and Advanced Missions, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

"We are bringing network avionics technology to spaceflight and giving the nation an affordable option to respond to rapidly changing, multi-mission needs."

Northrop Grumman is performing MSV-related study and hardware development under a five-year contract awarded in 2010 by NASA's Ames Research Center in support of the Air Force's Operationally Responsive Space Office.

The MSV spacecraft design is the first to implement a modular, rapidly reconfigurable architecture and was developed by industry in conjunction with the Air Force.

The Northrop-led team is comprised of Design Net Engineering, Applied Technology Associates, Microcosm Inc., Advanced Defense Systems, and Space Dynamics Laboratory, Utah State University.

"The government's investment in the past 2 1/2 years has developed a scalable, open architecture capability that allows bus components and payload modules to plug into a central spacecraft network using standardized technology, much like the way new hardware can be plugged into computers via USB ports," said Phil Katz, Northrop Grumman's MSV program manager.

"We have reduced integration complexity, resulting in a spacecraft that is more cost-effective, modular and more rapidly reconfigurable for assembly than typical space vehicles in this class. "Producing a modular open architecture commodity bus gives the government the ability to host a variety of payloads and to perform different missions at lower total mission cost."

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