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  • Satellite Evolution

Northrop Grumman-built satellite to support US Space Force national security mission

Northrop Grumman Corporation's Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-3A spacecraft launched successfully today in support of the USSF-67 mission. This spacecraft helps advance rapid access to space for the U.S. Space Force and marks the third successful launch in the LDPE program.

The ESPAStar platform (as pictured) can accommodate up to six payloads with independent mission objectives. Credit: Northrop Grumman

The LDPE-3A was built using Northrop Grumman’s ESPAStar, providing rapid access to space by maximizing the available volume inside a launch vehicle. This bus carries hardware for five independent missions, eliminating the need for each mission to wait for a future launch opportunity.


“From conception and development of next-generation space technology, like ESPAStar, to on-orbit command and control, we are prepared to support the full lifecycle of our customer’s missions throughout the ever-evolving threat environment,” said Troy Brashear, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman.


Northrop Grumman also designed, developed and implemented the command and control, and mission execution software system for the LDPE program. The software system uses a common baseline across multiple programs, putting more capability in the hands of customer operators at a lower cost.


The ESPAStar product employs a customized version of a standard ESPA ring, providing added propulsion, power and avionic subsystems. A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will deliver LDPE-3A to near-geosynchronous Earth orbit for a one-year mission life.


USSF-67 is the third mission for the LDPE program. The Northrop Grumman-built LDPE-1 launched aboard the STP-3 mission in December 2021 and LDPE-2 aboard the USSF-44 mission in November 2022. Northrop Grumman will continue to deliver future ESPAStar spacecrafts, mission systems engineering, ground software systems and hardware platforms for critical USSF missions.

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