SPARKS, Nev., 26 Sept. 2012. Engineers at Sierra Nevada Corp.’s (SNC’s) Space Systems headquarters in Louisville, Colo., completed the pre-ship review of the first prototype spacecraft in the ORBCOMM Generation 2 constellation, and subsequently shipped the satellite to the Cape Canaveral, Fla., launch site.
The prototype satellite, scheduled to launch 7 Oct. 2012, is based on SNC's SN-100 satellite bus, with capacity to launch optical, radio-frequency (RF), and science payloads. The SN-100 is rapidly produced on SNC's fleet satellite production line.
Engineers at SNC’s Louisville, Colo., facility are designing, building, and managing each spacecraft in the 18-satellite constellation. SNC also directed the development and integration of the complex communications payload, and assisted with launch planning and mission operations. In preparation for launch, SNC installed the Louisville Satellite Operations Center, which will support essential communications with the satellite prior to launch and during early on-orbit checkout and operations.
The prototype spacecraft will serve as a secondary payload on the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle within the first Cargo Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS). When the satellite deploys, following release of the Dragon capsule is released, it will become the first secondary commercial payload on a CRS mission, enabling government and commercial missions to coexist in a single launch.