Satellites successfully launched From NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

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Satellites from the Air Force’s Operationally Responsive Space Office and Space Test Program were successfully launched at 8:15 p.m. EST, Nov. 19.  The satellites were carried aboard an Orbital Space Sciences Minotaur I Vehicle, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va.

Space Test Program Satellite-3, or STPSat-3, launched along with numerous CubeSats as part of the Operationally Responsive Space 3, or ORS-3, mission.  Spacecraft separation occurred shortly after lift-off and all 29 payloads were successfully delivered to the desired orbit.

"The whole team, government and contractor alike, contributed to make this mission a success," said Maj. Catherine Porcher, the deputy mission manager. "We had a few bumps along the way, but each time the team was able to pull together, solve the tough problems, and deliver this satellite. We look forward to many years of successful operations on-orbit."

The STPSat-3 is the second launch of a Department of Defense Space Test Program Standard Interface Vehicle and is the second vehicle operated on the Multi-Mission Satellite Operations Center ground system from the Research and Development Test and Evaluation Support Complex, both located at Space Development and Test Directorate here.

Col. Todd Krueger, DOD Space Test Program director, characterized the Standard Interface Vehicle program as, "a system that enables affordable access to space for technologies offering significant military utility."

The ORS-3 Mission, also known as the Enabler Mission, demonstrates launch and range improvements to include: automated vehicle trajectory targeting, range safety planning, and flight termination; a commercial-like procurement and Federal Aviation Administration licensing of the Minotaur I rocket; and the Integrated Payload Stack consisting of 29 spacecraft.  These enablers not only focus on the ability to execute a rapid call up mission, but they also automate engineering tasks, which reduce timelines from months to days, and in some cases hours, result in decreased mission costs.

Krueger also emphasized the efficient use of precious resources by stating, "Our ability to partner with the ORS office is a demonstration of the 'rideshare' concept being advanced across the space enterprise to maximize launch vehicle lift capacity."

The Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the Air Force's center of acquisition excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems including Global Positioning System, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control network, space based infrared systems and space situational awareness capabilities.

(Information compiled from Space and Missile Systems Center press release. First Lt. Michael Clark, Space Development and Test Directorate, contributed to this story)