Press Release

STPSat-3 built by Ball Aerospace Arrives at Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

By SpaceRef Editor
September 6, 2013
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The STPSat-3 satellite built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. has arrived at Wallops Flight Facility located on Wallops Island, Virginia. Slated to launch November 4, 2013 aboard a Minotaur I, STPSat-3 is the primary satellite for the U.S. Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-3 enabler mission.

STPSat-3 is the second spacecraft Ball has built for the Department of Defense, Space Test Program, Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) program, managed by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Space Development & Test Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

“STPSat-3 will demonstrate the robust SIV spacecraft by carrying five payloads and a de-orbit module,” said Rob Strain, Ball Aerospace president. “Ball’s first SIV satellite, STPSat-2, launched in November 2010 and has exceeded its mission requirements and continues to operate three onboard experiments.”

Utilizing the Ball Aerospace flight-proven common spacecraft bus platform, STPSat-3 bus was built in 47 days and has standard payload interfaces for its five payloads, which include:

– iMESA-R (Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer Reflight), a U.S. Air Force Academy mission designed to measure plasma densities and energies

– J-CORE (Joint Component Research), a space phenomenology mission sponsored by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)/EO Countermeasures Technology Branch (RYMW) and Army Space and Missile Defense Command (SMDC)

– SSU (Strip Sensor Unit), an AFRL Directed Energy (RD) experiment to provide risk reduction through on-orbit testing and operation of a sensor assembly

– SWATS (Small Wind and Temperature Spectrometer), a Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) mission to provide in-situ measurements of the neutral and plasma environment to characterize the Earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere

– TCTE (TSI Calibration Transfer Experiment), a NASA/NOAA mission to collect high accuracy, high precision measurements of Total Solar Irradiance (TSI) to monitor changes in solar irradiance incident at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere with the TCTE instrument provided by the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

“The SIV is now part of the Ball Configurable Platform cost-effective product line that can be appropriately scaled from initial technology development missions like STPSat-3, to fully operational systems such as NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System,” added Strain.

STPSat-3 will be launched along with numerous CubeSats as part of the ORS-3 mission. The ORS-3 enabler mission is demonstrating, testing and verifying rapid response spacecraft technologies to decrease launch timelines and reduce mission costs.

Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. supports critical missions for national agencies such as the Department of Defense, NASA, NOAA and other U.S. government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and RF solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications. For more information, visit

Ball Corporation (BLL) supplies innovative, sustainable packaging solutions for beverage, food and household products customers, as well as aerospace and other technologies and services primarily for the U.S. government. Ball Corporation and its subsidiaries employ 15,000 people worldwide and reported 2012 sales of more than $8.7 billion. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

SpaceRef staff editor.