Space Test Program's Standard Interface Vehicle
The U.S. Air Force Space Test Program’s Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) project has developed a common spacecraft bus with a standard payload interface to accelerate Department of Defense space technology and ensure future U.S. space superiority.
Payload teams are able to design payloads and specific experiments to be compatible with the flexible standardized vehicle, resulting in lower spacecraft non-recurring costs and increased spaceflight opportunities. By providing such a vehicle, the Space Test Program can shorten acquisition timelines and decrease spacecraft build costs for its defense industry customers.
As the prime contractor on the program, Ball Aerospace is responsible for the overall system including the spacecraft and standard payload interface design and build, payload integration, space vehicle environmental testing, and launch and mission support.
Ball Aerospace’s STP-SIV series of satellites, based on the Ball Configurable Platform (BCP) 100 is ideal for a variety of science, technology development and risk reduction missions.
- Spacecraft is approximately 24” x 28” x 28” high and weighs less than 110kg
- Accommodates up to four separate instruments
- Operates in any low earth orbit from 400 and 850 km altitude
- Remains easily adaptable for future missions – no design changes necessary for payloads that conform to the standard interface
- Maintains flexibility to launch on a large variety of vehicles, including the EELV Secondary Payload Adapter
The first STP-SIV spacecraft, STPSat-2 launched Nov. 19, 2010 aboard a Minotaur IV from Kodiak, AK. The satellite is carrying a relay transponder for data collected by ocean buoys and a space phenomenology sensor.
STPSat-3, the second STP-SIV spacecraft was built in only 47 days. Construction of the STPSat-3 platform was completed before the final payloads had been selected, demonstrating the flexibility of the hardware. Payloads for STPSat-3 include:
- iMESA-R (Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer Reflight), a U.S. Air Force Academy mission designed to measure plasma densities and energies
- J-CORE (Joint Component Research), a space phenomenology mission sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) /EO Countermeasures Technology Branch (RYMW) & Army Space and Missile Defense Commance (SMDC)
- SSU (Strip Sensor Unit), an AFRL Directed Energy (RD) experiment to provide risk reduction through on-orbit testing and operation of a sensor assembly
- SWATS (Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer), a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) mission to provide in-situ measurements of the neutral and plasma environment to characterize the Earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere
- TCTE (TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment) , a NASA/NOAA mission to collect high accuracy, high precision measurements of Total Solar Irradiance to monitor changes in solar irradiance incident at the top the Earth’s atmosphere with TCTE instrument provided by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics
STPSat-3 is expected to launch in 2013 on a Minotaur I from Wallops Island, VA.