ABOUT >> NEWS >> PRESS RELEASE, FALCONSAT-6, AUGUST 2013
BUSEK PRESS RELEASE
Busek providing primary payload for FalconSat-6
Natick, Massachusetts - August, 2013
FalconSat is the USAF Academy's (USAFA) capstone undergraduate systems engineering course managed by the Department of
Astronautics. Realizing the department's motto, "learning space by doing space," a student (cadet) team acts as a satellite system
integrating contractor. The spacecraft bus, with all the supporting subsystems, is designed, built, and tested to meet the requirements of
real-world Department of Defense (DoD) payload and mission requirements. FalconSAT-6 is an ESPA-compliant design, limiting the
envelope to 24 x 34 x 38 inches and the mass to less than 181 kg. FalconSAT-6 is a secondary payload on the DoD Space Test Program's
STP-2 mission, scheduled for launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy in Summer, 2015. The spacecraft operations will be monitored and
controlled by cadet operators from a ground station at USAFA. FalconSat is a full-spectrum space acquisition and operations experience
that transforms cadets into our nation's future space leaders.
During this world-class, hands-on learning process, cadets learn all aspects of satellite engineering. Small teams focus on payload
requirements and interfaces and all typical subsystems including electrical power, data handling, communications, attitude control, orbit
control, thermal control, propulsion, and the mechanical design. Once on-orbit, cadets monitor the satellite health, control payload and
subsystem activity, and review the payload status – all from the USAFA ground station. Above all, cadets are able to take textbook
examples and turn them into operational scenarios, which perform real science and execute experimental missions.
FalconSat-6 is sponsored by the USAF Research Laboratory (AFRL) and hosts a suite of five payloads to address key AFSPC Core
Function Master Plan (CFMP) needs: space situational awareness (SSA) and the need to mature pervasive technologies such as
propulsion, solar arrays, and low power communications. The primary payload is the AFRL Space Plasma Characterization Source, Mark II
(SPCS-2), which is a reflight of the modified COTS Hall effect thruster (HET) payload flown on FalconSat-5. Since FalconSat-5 was unable
to complete the experiment objectives due to electrical power system anomalies, FalconSat-6 will address many of the same SPCS
objectives. A companion experiment to SPCS-2, the Contamination Measurement Experiment (CME), will measure contamination from
SPCS firings, ground handling during integration and test (I&T), launch vehicle environments post-encapsulation, and on-orbit outgassing.
The USAFA-developed payloads are Cerberus, demonstrating a cuing architecture for space situational awareness (SSA), and the
Harmonic Ionospheric Propagation Experiment (HIPE), which investigates the propagation of harmonically associated sinusoids through the
ionosphere from a low power, on-board transmitter.
Finally, an AFRL payload is manifested to evaluate new solar array technologies including advanced solar arrays, Inverted Metamorphic
(IMM) cells, and flexible circuits. While, unfortunately, parts of the original payload (the Modular Array Technology for Reconfigurable
Spacecraft, or MATRS) had to be removed due to spacecraft design constraints, a single experiment module (M5) and the flexible circuit
experiment (FCE) are included on a bracket on the +Z payload deck. M5 is an advanced solar array experiment, while FCE will assess the
utility of flexible circuits for future solar array development efforts. The experimental data (e.g. voltages, currents, temperatures, etc.) are
collected by the VI Measurement Module (VIMM).
The spacecraft design, as well as the integration of all of the payloads, is being performed by USAFA undergraduate cadets in the Space
Systems Research Center (SSRC) and Space Physics and Atmospheric Research Center (SPARC), with faculty support. FalconSat-6
government and industry partners include AFRL, AFIT, Busek, Innoflight, Inc., Advanced Solutions, Inc., First RF, InStar, Lockheed-Martin,
and Northrop-Grumman. FalconSat-6 will be launch-ready in mid-2015.
ABOUT BUSEK CO. INC.
Busek Co. Inc. is a privately held advanced space system company located in Natick, Massachusetts. For over 25 years Busek has
provided a wide range of thrusters, electronics, space systems, research and complete mission and system engineering support for
customers including the major aerospace primes, NASA and the US Air Force. Busek flight heritage includes products developed for AFRL
TacSat-2, USAFA FalconSat-3, FalconSat-5, FalconSat-6 and NASA/ESA Lisa Pathfinder. In the late nineties, Busek licensed its Hall
thruster technology to Aerojet Corp. that produced the BPT-4000 Hall thruster now flying on the Advanced EHF satellite.
Distribution Statement "A" (Approved for Public Release, Distribution Unlimited)
FALCONSAT-6 EXTERNAL LAYOUT
(image courtesy of AFRL)
Busek Co. Inc. | 11 Tech Circle, Natick, MA 01760 | 508-655-5565 | Home | Contact