Orbital satellites successfully deployed to track in-orbit man-made objects for AFSPC-6 mission

21 August 2016 (Last Updated August 21st, 2016 18:30)

Orbital ATK-designed satellites have been deployed successfully after their launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US.

Orbital ATK-designed satellites have been deployed successfully after their launch aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in the US.

The two satellites, which have been built and tested by the company for the US Air Force, were the third and fourth for the Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Programme.

Orbital ATK also provided propulsion, key composite structures and other components on the Delta IV launch vehicle.

"Our industry leading satellite systems based on flight proven GEOStar, LEOStar, Cygnus and ESPAStar platforms are helping to reshape the boundaries of National Security Space and Civil Space."

The satellites consist of Air Force Space Command Mission Number Six (AFSPC-6) and will operate in near-geosynchronous orbit and collect space situational awareness (SSA) data for tracking and characterisation of man-made objects in Earth orbit.

This programme is aimed at improving the country’s knowledge of the geosynchronous orbit environment to improve space flight safety.

Orbital ATK National Security Systems vice-president Christopher Long said: “This launch marks the deployment of the second set of satellites we have designed and built for the US Air Force GSSAP programme.

“Our industry leading satellite systems based on flight proven GEOStar, LEOStar, Cygnus and ESPAStar platforms are helping to reshape the boundaries of National Security Space and Civil Space.”

On 28 July 2014, Orbital ATK’s first two GSSAP satellites were launched on AFSPC-4, which included the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Automated Navigation and Guidance Experiment for Local Space (ANGELS) satellite.

Orbital ATK served as the project’s prime contractor and was responsible for overall system design and development.

The satellites were manufactured, integrated and tested at the company’s manufacturing facility in Dulles, Virginia, US.