On March 6, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s (SMC) Launch Enterprise Mission Manifest Office (MMO) delivered a fully tested and integrated multi-manifest smallsat vehicle (TDO-2) to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) for integration on the AEHF-6 mission, which is the first U.S. Space Force Launch.
TDO-2, the multi-manifest smallsat vehicle flying with the AEHF-6 mission, is carrying multiple U.S. Government payloads that will provide optical calibration capabilities that will support space domain awareness.
The Mission of TDO-2 is to support space domain awareness through optical calibration and satellite laser ranging. This capability will assist the nation’s warfighters in performing their critical missions. TDO-2 was manufactured by Georgia Institute of Technology and sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
EZ-2 is integrated on the aft-end of the Centaur on the Atlas V 551 launch vehicle where it will deploy the TDO-2 multi-manifest satellite vehicle approximately 31 minutes after launch.
TDO-2 will deploy after Main Engine Cut Off (MECO) 2 and prior to the anchor AEHF satellite, which is only the second time this event has occurred during a National Security Space Launch mission. Previously, a hosted payload was deployed prior to AEHF-5 successfully separating.
The MMO is increasing space warfighting domain flexibility by enabling the “swap-out” capability of multi-manifest satellites late in the integration process.
The AEHF-6 mission will demonstrate this “swap-out” capability by having two qualified and compatible multi-manifest satellites vehicles ready to be substituted, if needed, as late as one month prior to launch.
Considering the historical integration timeline for traditional satellites is approximately 24 months, this is just another example of how SMC is driving integration flexibility and responsiveness into the National Security Space planning process and rapidly delivering capability to the warfighter.
Part of SMC’s Launch Enterprise, the MMO is blazing the way for innovation in the space warfighting domain and continuing the SMC tradition of innovation in space.