- Satellite Evolution
Spaceflight Inc. successfully debuts its latest OTV, Sherpa-AC
Spaceflight Inc., the leading global launch services provider, has announced it has contacted its Sherpa-AC vehicle and confirmed the vehicle is operating nominally. This is the debut launch of Sherpa-AC, the latest variation in the company’s Sherpa orbital transfer vehicle (OTV) portfolio. The Transporter 5 rideshare mission on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 lifted off from Cape Canaveral on May 25 headed to a Sun Synchronous orbit, 525km. Spaceflight successfully delivered all five customer payloads, including two hosted payloads on the Sherpa OTV, to their desired orbital destinations.
The Transporter 5 mission marks Spaceflight’s 51st launch, its sixth in 2022, and the first launch of the Sherpa-AC OTV model. Sherpa-AC, named for its “Attitude Control” capabilities, augments Spaceflight’s base free-flying Sherpa with key functionality including a flight computer, attitude knowledge and control, and more, making it ideal for servicing hosted payloads on orbit.
Organizations on Spaceflight’s Transporter 5 mission include Xona Space’s Huginn mission, NearSpace Launch Inc.’s TROOP-3, MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Agile Micro Sat, and Missile Defense Agency’s CNCE Block 2.
“This mission is an important milestone for our company and will enable us to further validate our technology on orbit and continue to accomplish our company goals,” said Brian Manning, CEO of Xona. “The capabilities of the Sherpa and Spaceflight’s team have been key to enabling us to make very rapid progress through this critical development phase.”
“The success of this mission is another significant achievement for Spaceflight and our Sherpa OTV program,” said Curt Blake, CEO and president of Spaceflight. “Designing and delivering OTVs that serve our customers’ growing needs for in-space transportation in LEO, GEO and beyond, supporting hosted applications, or building space infrastructure is key to our vision to offer the most comprehensive launch solutions. We’re excited to continue expanding our offerings of in-space transportation services and execute more groundbreaking missions with our state-of-the-art OTVs.”
The Sherpa-AC is one of two variations Spaceflight plans to debut in 2022 as part of its Sherpa OTV program. Sherpa-LTC, Spaceflight’s first chemical propulsion OTV, is scheduled to launch later this year. Spaceflight’s Sherpa-ES, a bipropellant, high delta-V OTV, will launch aboard the much-anticipated lunar slingshot mission, GEO Pathfinder in 2023.
Earlier this month, Spaceflight celebrated its milestone 50th launch aboard the Rocket Lab’s “There and Back Again” mission. Following this mission, Spaceflight has successfully provided launch, integration and mission management services for 553 spacecraft across a global network of launch vehicles.