The Navigation Technology Satellite-3 (NTS-3) program is making main strides in growing a brand new navigation spacecraft for in-space demonstration. The NTS-3 is scheduled to launch to geosynchronous orbit from Cape Canaveral in 2023.
This summer time, Northrop Grumman Corp. delivered the ESPAStar-D spacecraft bus to L3Harris Applied sciences of Palm Bay, Florida.
“The switch of the bus permits L3Harris to maneuver ahead constructing the NTS-3 spacecraft,” stated 2nd Lt. Charles Schramka, this system’s deputy principal investigator. “L3Harris will carry out assessments and start integrating the NTS-3 PNT payload onto the bus. Collectively the bus and payload will kind the NTS-3 spacecraft.”
Following L3Harris’s work, the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) will check the bus with the NTS-3 floor management and person tools segments, and can carry out its personal built-in testing on the general NTS-3 system structure.
NTS-3 within the Vanguard. In 2019, the U.S. Air Power designated NTS-3 as one among three Vanguard applications — precedence initiatives to ship new capabilities for nationwide protection. The NTS-3 mission is to advance applied sciences to responsively mitigate interference to place, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities, and improve system resiliency for GPS navy, civil and business customers.
“That is the primary time an ESPAStar bus has been constructed and delivered as a commercially obtainable commodity,” stated Arlen Biersgreen, NTS-3 program supervisor. “NTS-3 is utilizing a novel acquisition mannequin for the ESPAStar line that totally workout routines the business nature of Northrop Grumman’s product line, to be able to present the bus to a different protection contractor for payload integration utilizing normal interfaces.”
The ESPAStar-D bus, in-built Northrop Grumman’s satellite tv for pc manufacturing facility in Gilbert, Arizona, consists of essential subsystems resembling communications, energy, perspective dedication and management, along with configurable constructions to mount payloads.
The bus will “present reasonably priced, speedy entry to area,” in keeping with Northrop Grumman. Its configuration, utilizing an Developed Expendable Launch Car (EELV) Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA), permits a number of separate experimental payloads to be stacked collectively on one launch car. AFRL developed the ESPA ring to move area experiments, permitting for decrease price and extra frequent journeys to area for presidency and trade customers.
Moreover the bus supply, there are different advances in this system.
GNSSTA receiver. In June, AFRL took supply of an experimental receiver — GNSS Check Structure (GNSSTA). The receiver was developed by the AFRL unit the Sensors Directorate, positioned at Wright-Patterson Air Power Base in Ohio, and Mitre Corporation. GNSSTA is a reprogrammable software-defined sign receiver that can permit the Air Power to obtain each legacy GPS and superior indicators generated by NTS-3.
AFRL will proceed its integration efforts via 2022 to make sure all elements are working collectively for the autumn of 2023 NTS-3 launch.
“With the supply of the bus we’re coming into into the subsequent section of payload integration,” Biersgreen stated. “These current breakthroughs permit this system to proceed to maneuver ahead and put together for launch of the primary U.S. built-in satellite tv for pc navigation experiment in over 45 years.”