Jan 16, 2023
Northrop Grumman Corporation's (NYSE: NOC) Long Duration Propulsive ESPA (LDPE)-3A spacecraft launched successfully in support of the USSF-67 mission. This spacecraft helps advance rapid access to space for the U.S. Space Force and marks the third successful launch in the LDPE program.
The LDPE-3A was built using Northrop Grumman’s ESPAStar, providing rapid access to space by maximizing the available volume inside a launch vehicle. This bus carries hardware for five independent missions, eliminating the need for each mission to wait for a future launch opportunity.
“From conception and development of next-generation space technology, like ESPAStar, to on-orbit command and control, we are prepared to support the full lifecycle of our customer’s missions throughout the ever-evolving threat environment,” said Troy Brashear, vice president, national security systems, Northrop Grumman.
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Northrop Grumman also designed, developed and implemented the command and control, and mission execution software system for the LDPE program. The software system uses a common baseline across multiple programs, putting more capability in the hands of customer operators at a lower cost.
The ESPAStar product employs a customized version of a standard ESPA ring, providing added propulsion, power and avionic subsystems. A SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch vehicle will deliver LDPE-3A to near-geosynchronous Earth orbit for a one-year mission life.
USSF-67 is the third mission for the LDPE program. The Northrop Grumman-built LDPE-1 launched aboard the STP-3 mission in December 2021 and LDPE-2 aboard the USSF-44 mission in November 2022. Northrop Grumman will continue to deliver future ESPAStar spacecrafts, mission systems engineering, ground software systems and hardware platforms for critical USSF missions.