Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) has received a contract from the US Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture a next-generation science and technology demonstration satellite.

Under the terms of the contract, SNC’s Space Systems will develop and build STPSat-5 satellite for the DoD’s Space Test Program (STP).

STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled to carry four scientific payloads to low-earth orbit to help advance the DoD’s understanding of the space environment, which in turn will enable and support the development of future national security space systems for the US.

The payloads would be initially delivered to SNC’s Space Systems manufacturing facility in Colorado, for integration into the spacecraft. The satellite is expected to be launched in the last quarter of 2016.

The STPSat-5 contract is supervised by Nasa’s Ames Research Center based in Silicon Valley, California.

"STPSat-5 satellite is scheduled to carry four scientific payloads to low-earth orbit to help advance the DoD’s understanding of the space environment."

Managed by the US Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, STP serves as the primary provider of spaceflight for the entire DoD space science and technology community.

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The programme conducts space test missions to accelerate the DoD’s space technology transformation and reduce development risk.

SNC Space Systems business development vice-president John Roth said: "SNC is privileged to be part of the STP team that plays such a pivotal role in advancing our understanding of critical space environment and technology issues.

"The Space Test Program has a rich history of providing support to continue our nation’s leadership in delivering enhanced space capability to protect our military men and women, which is in perfect alignment with our goals at Sierra Nevada Corporation."

Since 1965, the programme has played a foundational role in the development of new space systems, and has so far launched nearly 150 experiments and demonstrations into space.

Defence Technology