Space Test Program to launch trio of NRL space science and technology experiments

August 5, 2011

The Naval Research Laboratory and the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP) finalized a Memorandum of Agreement, May 30, 2011, to integrate and launch science and technology experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2013.

The mission, known as Test Program-Houston 4 (STP-H4), will include the Global Awareness Data-Extraction International Satellite hosted payload (GLADIS) and will validate the performance of a dual channel UHF and VHF data-extraction payload compatible with the nano-satellite form factor of approximately 20 kilograms and 20 watts total weight and power respectively.

"Access to orbit is the objective of every investigator working in the realm of space science and technology," said Jay Middour, branch head, NRL Advanced Systems Technology. "The DoD STP-H4 mission is an apt illustration, allowing several NRL payloads to demonstrate miniaturized satellite technologies for improved maritime security and measurement of space weather and the radiation environment."

GLADIS includes small, lightweight antennas designed to improve signal reception and mitigate interference associated with space-borne collection of the Automatic Information System (AIS) vessel-tracking signal while simultaneously providing two-way communications to widely distributed Maritime Domain Awareness sensor arrays.

The science payloads are the Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer (SWATS) and the Miniature Array of Radiation Sensors (MARS).

The objective of SWATS is to make in-situ co-located measurements of the atmospheric density, neutral and ion density, composition and winds on a global scale. These data will support improvements to the thermospheric/ionospheric density and wind models to improve orbit determination and prediction.

MARS is an array of miniature, persistent, ubiquitous sensors that monitor the total dose radiation on the host spacecraft for three dimensional local radiation modeling. These sensors have a small footprint, low mass, and minimal power and telemetry requirements. The MARS sensors will be distributed around the STP-H4 experiment platform and directly attached to the GLADIS payload.

The STP-H4 mission will also include experiments from the Air Force Research Laboratory (ARL), United States Air Force Academy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA's) Goddard Space Flight Center.

GLADIS is designed and built by the NRL Space System Development Department and was funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The two science experiments are designed and built by the NRL Space Science Division with partial funding for SWATS provided by ONR.

In addition to the experimental payloads, STP is funding the NRL Spacecraft Engineering Department to design and build the STP-H4 power interface box.

Delivery of the flight hardware to STP will take place between late 2011 and early 2012. STP will perform systems integration of all experiments into the STP-H4 payload complement, followed by launch vehicle integration and testing in late 2012, with an anticipated launch to the International Space Station in 2013.

Explore further: Naval Research Laboratory's ANDE-2 launched aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour

Related Stories

NRL sensor provides critical space weather observations

November 3, 2009

Launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard an United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle, Oct. 18, 2009, the Special Sensor Ultraviolet Limb Imager (SSULI) developed by NRL's Space Science Division and Spacecraft ...

STPSat-1 successfully completes extended mission

December 2, 2009

The STPSat-1, built for the Department of Defense (DoD) Space Test Program (STP) and operated by the DoD STP for the first year then transitioned to NRL for the last 16 months, was decommissioned on October 7th after completing ...

FASTSAT satellite readies for shipment to Alaska

June 8, 2010

NASA has successfully completed a comprehensive pre-shipment review of the Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, a small, microsatellite class spacecraft bus that will carry six experiment payloads ...

FASTSAT microsatellite readied to share a ride

November 4, 2010

As the holiday season approaches, people are already planning ways to share with others, because sharing is always good. This is also true for NASA's Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, or FASTSAT, which will ...

NRL instrument provides key space weather data

June 22, 2011

Data products from the Special Sensor Ultraviolet Limb Imager (SSULI) developed by the NRL Spacecraft Engineering Department and Space Science Division were officially transitioned for use in operational systems at the Air ...

Recommended for you

Distant planet's interior chemistry may differ from our own

September 1, 2015

As astronomers continue finding new rocky planets around distant stars, high-pressure physicists are considering what the interiors of those planets might be like and how their chemistry could differ from that found on Earth. ...

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

Interstellar seeds could create oases of life

August 27, 2015

We only have one example of a planet with life: Earth. But within the next generation, it should become possible to detect signs of life on planets orbiting distant stars. If we find alien life, new questions will arise. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.