Space Newsfeed

IET Satcom 2018

General Atomics completes ready-for-launch testing of Orbital Test Bed satellite

(23 April 2018 - General Atomics) General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) announced today that it has completed full system and “ready for launch” pre-flight testing of its Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite.

OTB will launch as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Technology Program (STP-2) flight on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. The OTB hosts multiple payloads on a single platform for on-orbit technology demonstration. Among the hosted payloads on OTB is NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Deep Space Atomic Clock, designed and built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which supports deep space navigation and exploration.

“The completion of system testing marks a significant milestone, allowing us to effectively “button up” the OTB satellite in anticipation of delivery to Cape Canaveral for launch into space,” stated Scott Forney, president of GA-EMS. “We believe OTB is a new paradigm in hosted payload satellite design and is paving the way to make space more affordable and accessible to customers looking to demonstrate and validate their technologies on-orbit.”

GA-EMS’ low-Earth orbit OTB is a versatile, modular platform designed for the simultaneous launch of multiple demonstration payloads. Hosting multiple payloads on a single satellite eliminates the need for customers to bear the costly burden of a dedicated platform and launch.

“As the small satellite industry grows, the OTB hosted payload platform can increase the number of flight opportunities, reduce the cost to access space, and provide a more adaptable approach to managing the integration, launch, and on-orbit operations to support commercial, civil, educational, and military payloads,” added Nick Bucci, vice president of Missile Defense and Space at GA-EMS. “From the perspective of both the payload customer and host provider, this new approach offers significant advantages and benefits over classic space industry practices to help rapidly space-qualify new equipment.”

GA-EMS continues to expand its portfolio of small satellites and mission-support capabilities, providing ground-to-on-orbit solutions that offer a high degree of modularity and payload flexibility to suit a variety of mission and customer requirements.

About General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Group is a global leader in the research, design, and manufacture of first-of-a-kind electromagnetic and electric power generation systems. GA-EMS’ history of research, development, and technology innovation has led to an expanding portfolio of specialized products and integrated system solutions supporting aviation, space systems and satellites, missile defense, power and energy, and processing and monitoring applications for critical defense, industrial, and commercial customers worldwide.