USAF SIV spacecraft deal signed

by Chris Bergin

The United States Air Force have signed up three contractors to build their Space Test Program’s “Standard Interface Vehicle” (STP-SIV).

USAF’s Space and Missile Systems Center, Detachment 12 – based at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico – are spending around $26m on building one vehicle, with an in-built option to acquire another five spacecraft.

The goal of the STP-SIV program is to increase flexibility and reduce the cost of small satellites, complementing similar efforts underway with small launch vehicles.

AeroAstro, Inc., Broad Reach Engineering and prime contractor Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp will build the SIV.

The Ball Corporation – which employees over 13,000 people worldwide – has a history of being involved with the building of launch vehicles for the military since 1956, and was the main contractor for the pioneering Orbiting Solar Observatory.

“It is a privilege to be a part of this important and long standing program and we look forward to contributing to the continued success of the Space Test Program,” said Ball Aerospace President and CEO, David L. Taylor.

Ball Corp. – along with it’s fellow contractors – will build a small spacecraft with a non-proprietary standardized payload-to-experiment interface. It is likely to be involved with projects that are experimenting with micro satellites, as recently demonstrated with the ST-5 mission.

The Space Test Program (STP), managed by the Space & Missile Center, Detachment 12, at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, has launched over 400 space technology experiments in the past 40 years.

The STP documents state that ‘an objective of the program is to demonstrate that the Standard Payload Interface results in a reduction of non-recurring costs.”

The contract, which is noted as a fixed cost deal, tasks the contractor with the design, fabricate, integrate and test the spacecraft, plus the integration and testing of one or more experiments to the spacecraft, with launch site preparation of the space vehicle, and anomaly resolution during on-orbit operations.

The government will provide the experiments and the launch.

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