Orbital ATK has been contracted to provide payload integration and support services for the US Air Force's (USAF) space test programme satellite 6 (STPSat-6).

The STPSat-6 is a multipurpose satellite that can carry nine payloads from the US Department of Defense (DoD), National Nuclear Security Administration and Nasa in order to support national security and science activities.

The payloads include the space and atmospheric burst reporting system (SABRS-3), Nasa’s laser communication relay demonstration (LCRD), and seven experiments from the DoD Space Experiments Review Board.

"This flexible and modular satellite bus platform provides an especially unique opportunity to host multiple instruments from three departments of government on one spacecraft."

The satellite is said to be built on an Orbital ATK satellite bus that will be modified to fit mission requirements.

Orbital ATK National Space Systems vice-president Chris Long said: “This flexible and modular satellite bus platform provides an especially unique opportunity to host multiple instruments from three departments of government on one spacecraft, achieving customer goals at an affordable price.”

The contract tasks Orbital ATK with integrating and testing the spacecraft, delivering operations procedures, and supporting launch and on-orbit check-out.

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By GlobalData

In addition to providing advanced communication capabilities, the STPSat-6 will collect space weather data and support nuclear detonation detection in the Earth’s atmosphere or in near space.

The STPSat-6 is the primary payload on the STP-3 mission which is set to launch after June 2019, Orbital ATK stated.

The STP-3 mission is sponsored and managed by the Space Test Programme, which provides spaceflight for the DoD space science and technology community.

STP is managed by the Advanced Systems and Development Directorate of the Space and Missile Center.