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STPSat-5 Ground Systems Team Completes Radio Frequency and End-to-End Testing
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STPSat-5 Ground Systems Team Completes Radio Frequency and End-to-End Testing

In October, the Space Test Program Satellite 5 (STPSat-5) Ground System team completed a major project milestone by conducting Radio Frequency (RF) Compatibility testing and End-to-End testing between the STPSat-5 satellite (which is being integrated at the Sierra Nevada Corporation in Louisville, Colorado) and the STPSat-5 Mission Operations Center at NASA Ames. The week-long test activity was the culmination of months of test planning and coordination, and of development and integration of key ground data system components. Completion of this test demonstrated basic interoperability between the satellite’s hardware and software, and the ground data system being developed at Ames Research Center (ARC), which will eventually be used to monitor and control the satellite during its 13-month mission.

BACKGROUND: STPSat-5 is a science and technology demonstration satellite built by Sierra Nevada Corporation for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Space Test Program (STP), and managed by the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. The STPSat-5 satellite will carry five scientific payloads to low-Earth orbit to help advance DOD’s understanding of the space environment, which in turn will enable and support the development of future national security space systems for the United States. In early 2015 the USAF STPSat-5 program conducted a search for an organization to provide ground systems and mission operations support for the mission and chose NASA Ames after reviewing proposals from a final set of six candidates. NASA Ames had an existing relationship with the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) program, and the ground systems and mission operations support that Ames is providing to STPSat-5 is being performed under an ongoing inter-agency agreement.

To fulfill its agreement with the USAF, Ames is assembling a mission operations team and will conduct mission operations from the Ames Multi-Mission Operations Center (MMOC), leveraging ground data system software and infrastructure from ARC's existing and previous spacecraft missions, and with some new Custom-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components. The mission will also leverage MMOC’s existing connections with the NASA Near Earth Network (NEN) for ground-to-space/space-to-ground communications. Many key positions within the mission operations and ground system development team are filled by Code TI staff due to their previous experience in spacecraft development and operations. Launch of STPSat-5 is currently planned to be no earlier than June 2018. The demonstration mission has a planned operational lifetime of 13 months.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Space Test Program (STP), United States Air Force

TEAM: Code TI: Nathanial Benz (MEI), Howard Cannon, Kandy Fabreo (SGT/Critical Realm), Michael Iatauro (SGT/QTS), Elif Kurklu (SGT), Matthew D’Ortenzio, and Brandon Owens (SGT); Code R: Joan Differding, Steven Hu (MEI), Todd Maeshiro (MEI/Logyx), Aaron Mazzulla (MEI), Karolyn Ronzano (Wyle/Fine Point), and Brian Stamper (MEI/Logyx); Code Q: AeSim Jones (MEI)

POINT OF CONTACT: Matthew D’Ortenzio, matthew.dortenzio@nasa.gov

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