- Satellite Evolution
Northrop Grumman hardware and software enables multiple missions on single launch
Northrop Grumman Corporation has played a critical role in the integration, launch and deployment of the United States Space Force (USSF)-44 mission that successfully launched from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Several hardware and software platforms were provided to deliver multiple missions for customers including highly complex payloads from multiple industry partners.
The Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-2 spacecraft on this mission consists of an ESPAStar satellite, built in Northrop Grumman’s Gilbert, Arizona satellite facility — one of several facilities with a legacy of advanced manufacturing capabilities. The bus carries six payloads with independent mission objectives.
“ESPAStar vehicles can use excess payload space on launches and our streamlined integration process allows for unification at the launch site,” said Troy Brashear, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman. “These capabilities enhance mission value and redefine rapid access to space as we provide the U.S. Space Force with the technology to make their missions more efficient.”
LDPE-2 was built using a Northrop Grumman ESPAStar bus, which serves as a rideshare service for a variety of payloads. ESPAStar employs a standard ESPA ring and provides added propulsion, power and avionic subsystems enabling operation as a fully functioning satellite. A SpaceX Falcon heavy launch vehicle will deliver LDPE-2 to near-geosynchronous Earth orbit for a one-year mission life.
USSF-44 is the second of three missions for the LDPE program. LDPE-1 was launched aboard the STP-3 mission in December 2021. Northrop Grumman will continue to deliver mission systems engineering, ground software systems and hardware platforms, like ESPAStar, for critical missions, such as the recent award of ROOSTER by the Space Force. This mission is one of several Northrop Grumman payloads set to launch through the end of 2022, supporting customer missions that span human exploration, scientific discovery, communications and national security.
Northrop Grumman is a technology company, focused on global security and human discovery. Our pioneering solutions equip our customers with capabilities they need to connect, advance and protect the U.S. and its allies. Driven by a shared purpose to solve our customers’ toughest problems, our 90,000 employees define possible every day.