Press Release

Spectrum Astro Built Coriolis Spacecraft Moves to Launch Pad

By SpaceRef Editor
December 4, 2002
Filed under , ,

The Department of Defense Space
Test Program’s Coriolis spacecraft, designed and built by Spectrum Astro, has
completed its suite of launch base testing and has been moved to the SLC-4W
launch pad, Vandenberg AFB, California, to prepare for launch. Coriolis is
scheduled to launch aboard a Titan II launch vehicle on December 15, 2002.
The spacecraft supports on-orbit operation of the Naval Research Laboratory’s
WindSat instrument and the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Solar Mass Ejection
Imager instrument. Coriolis will launch into an 830 km sun synchronous orbit
where it will operate continuously for three years.

The Coriolis launch base readiness tests were performed by the Spectrum
Astro launch team, together with NRL and AFRL payload personnel, under the
sponsorship of the 30th Space Wing’s 2nd Space Launch Squadron at the
Vandenberg AFB Astrotech payload processing facility. The completed tasks
include final assembly, integrated systems functional tests, launch-base
compatibility tests, hydrazine propulsion system tests, final
mechanical/electrical closeouts, launch-countdown tests, and more. In October
2002, Coriolis was shipped from the Naval Research Laboratory’s payload
processing facility after successfully completing integration of the WindSat
instrument, a full suite of environmental testing, and several other risk
reduction tests.

The Coriolis spacecraft launch mass is 1800 lbs and the fully integrated
launch ready spacecraft stands close to 17 feet tall, increasing to over
23 feet following on-orbit solar array deployment. The size of the spacecraft
is driven by the WindSat instrument, which is about 11 feet tall and hosts a
truss-mounted 6-foot dish that, following on-orbit checkout, will spin at
31.6 RPM to provide maximum earth coverage. The Titan II standard 10-foot
diameter, 20-foot high fairing was extended to 25 feet to accommodate the
unique features of Coriolis.

Coriolis is a Department of Defense Space Test Program (SMC/Det12) and
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) 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 instruments 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
opportunities. The company is headquartered in Gilbert, Arizona and maintains
additional offices in Los Angeles CA, Pasadena CA, Tucson AZ, Colorado Springs
CO, Herndon VA, and Washington D.C. For more information, visit .

SpaceRef staff editor.