On May 4, the U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Mission Manifest Office (MMO) has delivered two, fully tested and integrated, multi-manifest satellite vehicles, Technology Demonstration Orbiters (TDO-3 and TDO-4), to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, for integration aboard the SBIRS GEO-5 mission.
The MMO is increasing space warfighting domain flexibility by enabling expedited integration and “swap-out” capability of multi-manifest satellites late in the integration process. The SBIRS GEO-5 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 two weeks prior to launch. Considering the normal 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.
TDO-3 and TDO-4 are carrying multiple U.S. Government sponsored payloads that will provide critical experimental data for the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). The Department of Astronautics at USAFA was the sponsor for TDO-3 and TDO-4.
This data will ultimately be used to create capabilities that assist the nation’s warfighters in performing their critical missions. The MMO used strategic partners NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/Wallops Flight Facility and numerous industry participants to exercise this urgent effort. The multi-organizational design, analysis, manufacture, test and integration effort was performed within a nine-month period.
The successful effort also demonstrated an atmospheric modeling thesis. DNet Engineering & Integration of Denver, Colorado, operated as the bus manufacturer and payload integrator for TDO-3 and TDO-4 satellite vehicles. Parsons Corporation developed the interchangeable EZ Integrated Flight System that was designed to house the TDO-3 and TDO-4 satellite vehicles.
TDO-3 and TDO-4 will deploy into an optimized GTO after the first upper-stage Main Engine Cut Off (MECO-1) and prior to the SBIRS GEO-5 satellite’s separation. This is the third time that an early separation event has occurred as part of a National Security Space Launch (NSSL) mission. Successfully executing this early separation maximizes the operational utility and flexibility of NSSL and supports the warfighter with added capabilities in space.