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Multi-manifest Satellite Vehicles TDO-3 and TDO-4 Ready for Integration

EZ 3 and 4

EZ-3 &4 is the fully integrated flight system that will be attached to the aft-end of the Atlas V Centaur launching SBIRS Geo-5. This flight system is comprised of an adaptor plate, isolators, canisterized dispenser, and the TDO-3&4 small satellites. TDO-3 and TDO-4, are carrying multiple U.S. Government sponsored payloads that will provide critical experimental data. (Courtesy photo)


The U.S. Space Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Mission Manifest Office (MMO) delivered two fully tested and integrated multi-manifest satellite vehicles, Technology Demonstration Orbiters (TDO-3 and TDO-4), to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, for integration aboard the SBIRS GEO-5 mission on May 4.

The MMO is increasing space warfighting domain flexibility by enabling expedited integration and “swap-out” capability of multi-manifest satellites late in the integration process. The SBIRS GEO-5 mission will demonstrate this “swap-out” capability by having two qualified and compatible multi-manifest satellites vehicles ready to be substituted, if needed, as late as two weeks prior to launch. Considering the normal integration timeline for traditional satellites is approximately 24 months, this is just another example of how SMC is driving integration flexibility and responsiveness into the National Security Space planning process and rapidly delivering capability to the warfighter.

TDO-3 and TDO-4, are carrying multiple U.S. Government sponsored payloads that will provide critical experimental data for the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). The Department of Astronautics at USAFA was the sponsor for TDO-3 and TDO-4. This data will ultimately be used to create capabilities that assist the nation's warfighters in performing their critical missions. The MMO utilized strategic partners National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA/Wallops Flight Facility and numerous industry participants to exercise this urgent effort. The multi-organizational design, analysis, manufacture, test and integration effort was performed within a nine-month period. The successful effort also demonstrated an atmospheric modeling thesis. DNet Engineering & Integration of Denver, Colorado, operated as the bus manufacturer and payload integrator for TDO-3 and TDO-4 satellite vehicles. Parsons Corporation developed the interchangeable EZ Integrated Flight System which was designed to house the TDO-3 and TDO-4 satellite vehicles.

TDO-3 and TDO-4 will deploy into an optimized Geo Transfer Orbit (GTO) after the first upper-stage Main Engine Cut Off (MECO-1) and prior to the SBIRS GEO-5 satellite’s separation. This is the third time that an early separation event has occurred as part of a National Security Space Launch (NSSL) mission. Successfully executing this early separation maximizes the operational utility and flexibility of NSSL and supports the warfighter with added capabilities in space. 

The MMO, part of SMC’s Launch Enterprise, is blazing the trail for innovation in the space warfighting domain and continuing the SMC tradition of innovation in space.

The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, located at the Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning systems, military satellite communications, a meteorological satellite control network, range systems, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.