HomeNewsArticle Display

AFRL puts new technologies into space aboard world’s most powerful launch vehicle

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense's Space Test Program-2 (STP-2) mission launches from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida June 25, 2019. The satellites include two AFRL technology and science payloads. (NASA photo/Joel Kowsky)

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket carrying 24 satellites as part of the Department of Defense's Space Test Program-2 mission launches from Launch Complex 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., June 25, 2019. The satellites include two AFRL technology and science payloads. (NASA photo by Joel Kowsky)

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) --

The Air Force Research Laboratory successfully put new technologies into space, June 25, as part of the Department of Defense Space Test Program (STP-2) mission, managed by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California.

A SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, the most powerful launch vehicle in the world, blasted off from Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center, Florida at 2:30 a.m. EDT. It was the Falcon Heavy’s first night flight and just its third launch overall. It was also the first Falcon Heavy to fly using reused boosters.

The rocket carried 24 experimental satellites into space, including the Green Propellant Infusion Mission spacecraft, which enables the first ever on-orbit demonstration of the AFRL developed Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-toxic Propellant.

Space demonstration of this new propellant, ASCENT, formerly known as AF-M315E, marks a major milestone in a national effort to develop new energetic propellants to replace hydrazine, the current established chemical propellant of choice for nearly all current satellite propulsion. Not only is ASCENT 50% higher performing than hydrazine, it is also a vastly safer alternative, allowing for streamlined ground operations relative to legacy propellants. While hydrazine is flammable, toxic and requires the use of Self Contained Atmospheric Protective Ensemble suits for handling operations, ASCENT propellant requires minimal Personal Protective Equipment such as a lab coat and a splash guard for the face.

“The demonstration of a revolutionary green propellant for spacecraft propulsion is critical as we move toward space operations being the new normal,” said Dr. Shawn Phillips, chief of AFRL’s Rocket Propulsion Division at Edwards Air Force Base, California.

Also part of the STP-2 mission was AFRL’s Demonstration and Science Experiments (DSX) spacecraft. The first of its kind globally, the DSX flight experiment will conduct new research to advance DOD’s understanding of the processes governing the Van Allen radiation belts and the effect they have on spacecraft components. DSX’s elliptical path in medium Earth orbit will increase understanding of this orbital regime, and advance understanding of the interplay between waves and particles that underlie radiation belt dynamics, enabling better specification, forecasting and mitigation. This will ultimately enhance the nation’s capability to field resilient space systems, AFRL officials say.

DSX’s mission is different from most other Air Force flight experiments as it is a purely scientific mission. The spacecraft is equipped with a unique suite of technologies such as space weather sensors and graphite antenna booms used to conduct experiments with very-low frequency radio waves. DSX has two sets of immense deployable booms due to the large antenna requirements of these experiments. One set extends 80 meters tip-to-tip and the other extends 16 meters tip-to-tip, making the DSX spacecraft one of the largest deployable structures in orbit.

“The space domain has never been more important to our nation than it is today,” said Maj. Gen. William Cooley, AFRL commander. “The DSX satellite experiment will greatly increase our understanding of the environment spacecraft operate in and will give us the knowledge to build even better satellites to protect and defend our space assets. I am immensely proud of the AFRL scientists, engineers, and technicians that conceived and built the DSX satellite.”

The DSX program is led by the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, with key team members from the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. DSX will conduct on-orbit experiments for at least a year.

Engage

Twitter
Not a bad way to cool off in the summer. The 815th Airlift Squadron's Reserve #Airmen visited Alaska to airlift o… https://t.co/DElqEx4JwJ
Twitter
RT @USAFRecruiting: Built different 😤 These @airforcespecwar exercises will put your strength to the test and show you what muscles these…
Twitter
Another Air Force week complete, and we've got it in photos! View the rest here: https://t.co/OkjRFKvDjz https://t.co/HXcWkJN35U
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: On behalf of our #Airmen and families, congrats and welcome to Ms. Jones, our new Under Secretary of the @usairforce. #…
Twitter
Jumping into the weekend Tactical Air Control Party Airmen assigned to the 14th Air Support Operations Squadron pe… https://t.co/VLRxCb90mw
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Getting ready for the big leap into civilian life? #Airmen preparing to separate from active duty service can take steps towar…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Acting Secretary Roth on the confirmation of Gina Ortiz Jones to serve as the Under Secretary of the Air Force. ⬇️ https…
Twitter
RT @SecAFOfficial: Confirmed yesterday by the Senate, Gina Ortiz Jones will be the next Under Secretary of the Air Force! Read more ⬇️ @US
Twitter
The Senate unanimously confirmed Gina Ortiz Jones to be Under Secretary of the Air Force, clearing the way for the… https://t.co/Q8SFw2fq45
Twitter
Hundreds of Airmen participated alongside @USArmy Soldiers in the inaugural Pacific Warriorz 2021 Joint and Total… https://t.co/fAPp4UGjmW
Twitter
RT @US_EUCOM: #JF21-2 is designed to test simulated emergency response procedures, ballistic missile defense & crisis response assistance i…
Twitter
RT @HQ_AFMC: Thanks to the conservation upgrades, Keesler AFB expects an annual savings of 113,840 million British Thermal Units, a 15.8 p…
Twitter
RT @GenCQBrownJr: .@Spangdahlem_AB was the first wing in @HQUSAFEAFAF capable of Agile Combat Employment. Being agile & persistent is a m…
Twitter
After catastrophic flooding in Germany & Belgium, @Spangdahlem_AB volunteers provide relief. “80% of people on Sp… https://t.co/6roLIRoFT0
Twitter
RT @Southcom: Supporting our partners in #Suriname: A @usairforce C-17 from @TeamCharleston delivered a field hospital to Suriname July 1…
Twitter
Congratulatons! 🎓 https://t.co/dzK8o0E9rK
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: On the latest edition of the Air Force Starts Here Podcast, we discuss the modernization of the @usairforce Career Developm…
Twitter
F-16s from the 555th Fighter Squadron fire munitions at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base range during Thracian Star 21 i… https://t.co/aYEY5PoEWD
Twitter
The #AirForce Civil Engineer Center, in partnership with the USAF Installation Contracting Center, has streamlined… https://t.co/8iFGwfrYHR
Twitter
A-10 Thunderbolt II's auxiliary power unit insulation is on the path of modernization as the Ogden Air Logistics Ce… https://t.co/3vWCDmV8Sf
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,354,187
Follow Us