August 10, 2015 – Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Space Systems, based in Louisville, Colorado, has successfully completed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the STPSat-5 satellite for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Space Test Program (STP) Office. SNC is the prime contractor on the STPSat-5 program, leading the design and integration of this next-generation science and technology demonstration satellite for the DOD.
The PDR is a comprehensive evaluation of the entire satellite and all systems; a critical milestone that must be achieved in order to proceed with the integration and test of the STPSat-5 satellite. By successfully completing PDR, SNC now moves into the Critical Design phase of the program, in which technical designs are finalized in advance of manufacturing and integration of the satellite and its payloads.
“This successful PDR validates that our STPSat-5 design meets or exceeds all mission requirements as defined by our customer,” said John Roth, vice president of business development for SNC’s Space Systems. “We appreciate the collaborative environment fostered by STP to achieve a highly-capable microsatellite that enables flight verification of key DOD technologies.”
In addition to STP customer representatives, the PDR was attended by the Operationally Responsive Space Office, Aerospace Corporation, payload representatives and NASA’s Ames Research Center.
“The Air Force and our other mission partners are pleased to move this program into the next phase,” said Colonel Jason Cothern, Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Advanced Development and Test Directorate. “We remain on-track for providing this spaceflight opportunity for five highly-ranked Space Experiments Review Board (SERB) payloads.”
STPSat-5 is the first satellite to be designed using SNC’s SN-50 modular microsatellite. The satellite can fly in a range of low-Earth orbits and in multiple launch configurations, providing a low-cost and highly-flexible solution for science, technology and commercial missions that can be satisfied with a small satellite. Payloads are accommodated through the innovative use of a configurable interface electronics suite, and further mission flexibility is offered by a low-toxicity ‘green’ propulsion module for orbit maintenance and de-orbit requirements. The spacecraft is compatible with a variety of secondary payload launch options in addition to dedicated launch configurations and, in many cases, an ideal choice for DOD and NASA space science missions.
STPSat-5, which is administered by NASA’s Ames Research Center, is the latest free-flyer spacecraft for the U.S. Air Force STP office, hosting five Government furnished payloads provided by SPAWAR, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the Naval Research Laboratory and Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The science and technology payloads will be integrated into the satellite at SNC’s Space Systems in Louisville, Colorado, home to SNC’s small satellite production facility and Satellite Operations Center.
The STPSat-5 satellite is planned for launch in late 2016.