Press Release

Coriolis Spacecraft Undergoing Environmental Testing

By SpaceRef Editor
April 19, 2002
Filed under , ,

Spectrum Astro announced today
that the Coriolis spacecraft completed its Pre-Environmental Review (PER) and
is proceeding with the environmental test program.
The PER took place at the
Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) after successful closure to the Coriolis
Integrated System baseline test on 16 January 2002.
The environmental tests
have proceeded nominally, either meeting or outperforming the planned test
schedule in all cases.
Spectrum Astro anticipates readiness to hold a
Pre-Ship Review in June 2002, prior to shipping the space vehicle for launch
vehicle integration.

Completion of the PER signifies the space vehicle functional testing was
successful and the necessary plans and resources are in place to start the
environmental test program.
Coriolis space vehicle environmental testing
includes electromagnetic self-compatibility; thermal balance and thermal
vacuum cycle; plus functional testing between and during environments to
ensure the vehicle was not affected adversely.
To date, the integrated space
vehicle has successfully completed acoustic testing, random vibration testing,
and separation and deployment testing.
In addition, Coriolis was tested to be
functionally compatible with the Air Force Satellite Control Network,
commercial X-band, and tactical ground stations.
It also successfully passed
the EMI/EMC self-compatibility test, initially considered the primary
technical risk on the program.

“Spectrum Astro has overall responsibility on this mission as integrating
contractor and we are pleased to be right on schedule with these major tests,”
said W. David Thompson, Spectrum Astro President and CEO.

The Coriolis program completed several major milestones to reach this
In July 2001, only 27 months after program award, the spacecraft and
an integrated secondary payload, the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Solar
Mass Ejection Imager (SMEI), were shipped to NRL for spacecraft level EMI/EMC
testing and integration with the primary payload, the Navy’s WindSat Microwave
The completion of spacecraft level EMI/EMC testing against
WindSat’s stringent radiated emissions requirements has validated Spectrum
Astro’s multi-level design for an EMI-quiet bus.

Another important milestone was the successful integration of the Coriolis
spacecraft with the WindSat instrument in December 2001.
Fully integrated,
the vehicle stands over 17 feet tall (before deployment), including a 10-foot
tall rotating WindSat section that hosts a 6-foot diameter radiometer antenna.
It was the first time this unique Coriolis configuration was assembled, and
the first time the 433-lb yaw-spinning assembly was exercised on top of the
stationary bus.
In December 2001, the flight-like operation of the WindSat
radiometer on the Coriolis spacecraft was demonstrated successfully,
culminating the first Integrated System Baseline Test.

Coriolis is a Department of Defense Space Test Program (SMC/Det12) and
Office of Naval Research (ONR) mission to demonstrate remote sensing of global
wind vectors using the Microwave Polarimetric Radiometry technique, plus risk
reduction for the Conical Microwave Imager Sounder (CMIS) element of the
National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS),
and to demonstrate more rapid and accurate prediction of geomagnetic
disturbances to orbiting satellites through continuous observation of solar
coronal mass ejections.
Spectrum Astro built the spacecraft and integrated
the space vehicle under a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Rapid Spacecraft
Acquisition (RSA I) Contract with SMC/Det12.

Spectrum Astro is a privately held, rapidly growing high technology
company, specializing in the design, development, integration, test, and
production of high performance satellites and space-based satellite systems
and subsystems for sophisticated defense, science, and commercial
The company is headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona and maintains
additional offices in Los Angeles, Pasadena, Tucson, Colorado Springs,
Herndon, Virginia, and Washington D.C.
For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.