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Orbital ATK announces U.S. Air Force contract for long duration propulsive ESPA spacecraft

(11 December 2017 - Orbital ATK) Orbital ATK has been awarded a contract from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missiles Center (AFSMC) to build LDPE, or the Long Duration Propulsive Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) space platform.

The innovative platform, positioned between the launch booster and a primary space vehicle, is used to carry small payloads or deploy small satellites. Under the contract, Orbital ATK will design and manufacture the LDPE using its ESPAStar platform. The award includes the initial LDPE, plus options for two additional systems and adds to the rapidly growing production of ESPAStars that support a wide variety of customer missions.

ESPAStar uses a modified EELV Secondary Payload Adapter ring as its structure and is capable of being launched aboard any launch vehicle that meets the EELV standard interface specification. It provides a modular, cost effective and highly capable platform for hosting technology development and operational payloads. ESPAStar leverages work performed on the company-designed ESPA Augmented Geostationary Laboratory Experiment (EAGLE), which successfully demonstrated similar technology for the U.S. Air Force. In addition to EAGLE, two ESPAStars are currently in production for other customers.

“ESPAStar’s game-changing capability is another example of Orbital ATK’s ability to deliver innovative products that fill a need for our customers,” said Mike Larkin, Vice President and General Manager for Orbital ATK’s Satellite Systems Division. “Based on Orbital ATK’s flight-proven GEOStar product line the new ESPAStar technology will provide a cost-effective ride to space for secondary payloads and offers maximum flexibility for orbit locations and deployment.”

ESPAStar provides power, pointing, telemetry, command and control for attached payloads or for small satellites that can be deployed from the vehicle. Built to provide an even greater level of access to space, Orbital ATK’s ESPAStar can accommodate any combination of up to six hosted or 12 separable, free-flyer payloads in low and geosynchronous orbit.

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 13,000 people across the U.S. and in several international locations.