Space Access

Operationally Efficient Access To Space

Operationally efficient access to space is an emerging market that supports the increases in small satellites that seek launch to space. We provide Multi-Manifest Flight Systems and launch integration capabilities to operationalize access-to-space for small space vehicle systems.

Our engineering and integration team performs the full scope of design, assembly, test, and integration of systems to meet responsive launch mission needs. We employ Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) and custom-built interface carriers involving Evolved Secondary Payload Adapter (ESPA) rings, 1.5m and 2.5m diameter dual-payload carriers, CubeSat dispensers, avionics sequencers, payload separation systems, and ground support equipment that enable efficient and effective assess-to-space for small satellites on both national security and small class launch systems.

We deliver the full range of hardware and system integration services required to integrate your small satellite payload onto a launch system. Three of our multi-manifest solutions have flown to date, and we are executing integration efforts to support at least five additional launches.

Interface Options

We deliver multi-manifest solutions spanning the full ranges of needs of National Security Space Launch (NSSL) systems, including small launch vehicle requirements. Our systems maximize the use of COTS hardware when practical and are designed to be ready for launch on schedules as short as 12 months.

Our broad solutions involve the use of hardware that enables radial and axial dispensing of satellite systems while supporting launch vehicle-specific solutions as needed. We can adapt these systems to deliver hybrid solutions that employ elements of each family to meet your specific requirements. An interface ring for CubeSats, the use of an ESPA Ring with the Type 2 interface system, and combinations of Type 1 and Type 4 are possible and practical without significant nonrecurring development effort. These capabilities are achievable based on the collaboration and cooperation of our team and vendors.

Radially-Dispensed Solutions

Capable of delivering six ESPA-class satellites to orbit and/or additional smaller space vehicles mounted to individual ports, Type 1 includes an ESPA Ring with proven flight history (TRL-9) on several missions, including STP-1, LCROSS, AFSPC-4/-6, AFRL EAGLE, and several commercial missions. The system’s payload separation systems are also flight-proven (TRL-9). The system includes a TRL-9 Auxiliary Payload Support Unit (APSU) that standardizes the interface between the launch system and flight system. We are currently under contract to deliver a minimum of four flight systems employing ESPA and/or ESPA-Grande adapters.

Integration On An Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle
Type 1M enables launch mission integration, layering proven team capabilities, and leveraging GFE provided separable, maneuverable radially dispensed multi-manifest payload carrier. Payload separation systems are flight-proven TRL-9 with flight history. We have retired component risks through design and design review, analysis, analysis review, VCRM review, and full-scale qualification test. Our teammates have invested significant resources over several years in the development of technology that has enabled risk reduction for cost, schedule, and associated risk for mission partners.

Axially-Dispensed Solutions

The Type 2 interface family delivers a 1.5-meter diameter dual/multiple payload carrier capable of supporting one or several space vehicles. Adapters comprising Type 2 were designed and built from flight heritage components. The solution leverages design specifications developed with input from NASA, Office of Space Launch, and the Department of Defense (DoD). Through design and design review, analysis and analysis review, and full-scale qualification test, we retired a significant portion of component development risks. Type 2 also uses an APSU.

Type 4 offers a 2.5-meter diameter dual payload solution for support of two medium-sized or multiple additional smaller space vehicles. Type 4 includes configuration flexibility – SV adapters can be selected to match multiple industry-standard interfaces without modification of the dual-adapter primary structural design. The system is constructed from flight-proven components, including forward and aft payload adapters and separation systems. Multiple integration engineering design and configuration studies are complete. Type 4 utilizes DoD SV volumes within Atlas V and Falcon 9 payload fairings (PLFs). The component manufacturer f has extensive experience building large, separating flight hardware, including Atlas V PLF, Atlas V Inter Stage Adapter, Ariane 5 PLF, and Vega PLF.

Radial Interface Options
Axial Interface Options

Vehicle Specific Solutions

Upper Stage Aft Bulkhead Dispensed Solutions
Enables CubeSat delivery via a launch vehicle upper stage aft bulkhead solution. Type 3 also offers an internally isolated 12U dispenser which reduces CubeSat vibration environment by 75–90%, allowing for increased CubeSat sophistication without significant margin to survive full-flight environments. We have successfully flown three Type 3A solutions on various configurations of the Atlas V launch vehicle. Our team members have previously launched satellites from a Type 3 carrier on two previous surfboard missions on SpaceX Falcon 9. We have completed two Type 3 launch integrations on NSSL missions in less than 10 months, well under a typical 1-year integration span.
Small Launch Vehicle Interface Solutions
Type 6 offers flight heritage for dispensers and a flexible integration approach proven on both government and commercial launches. Teammate-developed dispensers are manifested for flight on future small launch vehicles, including Rocket Lab, Virgin Orbit, and specifically 12 3U RailPODs on the Rocket Lab NASA Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) mission, which launched in December 2018. Type 6 has demonstrated rapid response: lightweight 3U dispensers are delivered and integrated onto the launch vehicle within six weeks of ATP. Tyvak’s Isogrid Nano Core Adapter (INCA) provides flexibility in swapping 3U/6U/12U CubeSats late in the integration cycle and provides accommodations for an ESPA-class satellite on top of more INCAs.
Hybrid Interface Types
Our team employs interface types that may be combined and deployed on launch systems to meet mission-unique requirements. An interface ring for CubeSats, the use of an ESPA Ring with the Type 2 interface system, and combinations of Types 1 and 4 are possible and practical without significant nonrecurring development effort. These capabilities are achievable based on the collaboration and cooperation of our teammates and vendors.
Vehicle Unique Interface Options

Portability And Flexibility

Autonomous Avionics Sequencer
We employ an Autonomous Payload Support Unit (APSU), co-developed with our strategic partner Adaptive Launch Solutions (ALS), to provide separation sequencing for satellites attached to our integrated flight systems. The APSU has the advantage of de-coupling separation sequencing from the upper stage avionics system, which greatly reduces the integration complexity and harnessing between the systems. The APSU provides redundant separations sequencing for up to 32 individual satellites and enhances the portability of our flight systems by easing the movement between individual launch vehicle flights and even between launch systems. APSU will fly on the Landsat-9 ESPA Flight System with several additional National Security Space Launch missions planned through 2024.
Delivering Port Solutions
Our team can also develop multi-manifest solutions at a “port interface,” for example, on the ESPA or ESPA Grande ring. We have developed these types of solutions supporting Atlas Aft Bulkhead Carrier missions and for ESPA rings. We have packaged CubeSat dispensers into various form factors and can meet your specific mission need. We have experience delivering systems in as short as six months and can meet various mission-unique integration requirements that are required to support operational mission schedules.
Flight Vibration Isolation Systems
We also offer a range of other interface and technology options, including the SoftRide™ Family of Flight Vibration Isolation Systems to reduce launch loads experienced by the space vehicle. Our teammate, Moog, developed and delivered this system which has been flown 40 times on nearly every U.S. LV. The SoftRide™ System is a Moog-patented technology.
Systems Integration Laboratory
Our team operates a systems integration laboratory in Los Angeles, California, to support space systems’ integration needs. The facility is configured with hardware and services to support mechanical, electrical, and systems integration requirements. We operate the lab at an ISO-9 level with localized capability for ISO-7 (Class 10,000 clean). We house equipment and tooling to meet all mission needs and can support your specific integration, assembly, and test requirements.
Tailored Do-No-Harm Solutions
We have developed significant experience delivering flight systems in the National Security Space Launch Do-No-Harm risk assessment environment. We can support your specific mission needs and the unique requirements that may result from compatibility with co-manifested satellite systems.
Our interface technology capabilities drive flexible, multi-manifest solutions
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