Orbital ATK to develop LDPE ESPA spacecraft for USAF

ESPAStar can carry payloads in low and geosynchronous orbit. Credit: Business Wire.

ESPAStar can carry payloads in low and geosynchronous orbit. Credit: Business Wire.

Orbital ATK has secured a contract to develop a long-duration propulsive-evolved (LDPE) expendable launch vehicle (EELV) secondary payload adapter (ESPA) space platform for the US Air Force (USAF).

The contract was awarded by the USAF Space and Missiles Center (AFSMC).

Under the contract, the company will use its ESPAStar platform to design and manufacture the LDPE.

Using a modified EELV Secondary Payload Adapter ring, ESPAStar can be launched on-board any launch vehicle that meets the EELV standard interface specification.

ESPAStar is capable of providing power, pointing, telemetry, as well as command and control for attached payloads or for small satellites that can be deployed from the vehicle.

It is capable of carrying any combination of up to six hosted or 12 separable, free-flyer payloads in low and geosynchronous orbit.

“The new ESPAStar technology will provide a cost-effective ride to space for secondary payloads and offers maximum flexibility for orbit locations and deployment.”

Orbital ATK Satellite Systems Division vice-president and general manager Mike Larkin said: “ESPAStar’s game-changing capability is another example of Orbital ATK’s ability to deliver innovative products that fill a need for our customers.

“Based on Orbital ATK’s flight-proven GEOStar product line, the new ESPAStar technology will provide a cost-effective ride to space for secondary payloads and offers maximum flexibility for orbit locations and deployment.”

The contract covers the delivery of initial LDPE and has options for two additional systems.

Orbital ATK is currently producing two ESPAStars and one ESPA Augmented Geostationary Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE) for other customers.