Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense (EBAD) recently deployed an experimental payload with the company’s Payload Release Ring (PRR) spacecraft separation system.
The PRR demonstration mission launched on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 on January 31, 2023, and the PRR successfully deployed the payload from D-Orbit’s ION carrier on February 8, 2023.
D-Orbit’s ION Satellite Carrier successfully delivered EBAD’s experiment to LEO. The data gathered from this experiment ensures EBAD’s new spacecraft dispensing products carry the same reliability that the industry is accustomed to with its heritage NEA® release mechanism.
The experiment provided valuable data on the performance of the PRR, which is designed to separate satellites from the launch vehicle or orbital transfer vehicle (OTV). Available in 8-inch, 15-inch, and 24-inch diameters, the PRRs use the NEA® Hold Down & Release Mechanisms (HDRM) and are configured to fasten directly to industry-standard, circular, mounting interfaces, and to satellites up to 800 kg in mass.
Outside of this mission, EBAD has a long history of successful space separation events with its ultra-low shock and high reliability NEA® Hold Down & Release Mechanisms and resettable TiNi Mechanisms, including 187 releases on the James Webb Space Telescope, 80 deployments of the OneWeb satellites, and most recently, the release of the O3b mPower satellites in a 4-Point Mount configuration.
This most recent demonstration focused on the PRR 8-inch diameter and EBAD has several other upcoming flight demonstration missions for its 15-inch and 24-inch diameter PRRs, and its integrated 4-Point Mount Separation System, which also use the flight-proven NEA® HDRMs.
Chad Thompson, president of EBAD, said EBAD’s extensive experience in providing reliable, high-quality products to various missions across markets helps them create a product that clients can rely on, no matter the scale of their mission. He said, “EBAD serves both the satellite and launch vehicle markets, giving us a unique understanding of separation and dispensing systems requirements, which reside at the crossroads of both space markets. Our high volume and vertically integrated production capabilities allow us to deliver reliable payload deployment systems with higher value and significantly shorter lead times.”
Ensign-Bickford Aerospace & Defense has been in business for more than 180 years, supplying world-class initiation and separation system products for space programs for more than 60 years. With facilities in Graham, Kentucky., Moorpark, Californnia, and Simsbury, the company delivers mission-critical solutions for satellites (separation and dispensing), human spacecraft, missiles, and launch vehicles, and has the Space industry’s widest array of flight-proven pyrotechnic and non-pyrotechnic separation system solutions.