Modular Space Vehicle Bus Northrop Grumman image ()
Northrop Grumman has delivered a plug and play satellite system that can be quickly assembled as needed to meet changing battlefield requirements.
The Modular Space Vehicle "is the first open systems spacecraft bus that supports a top priority of launching smaller, less expensive satellites in a matter of weeks for short-term missions – a capability commonly referred to as 'responsive space,'" claims a Northrop Grumman news release.
The company delivered the first MSV to the Operationally Responsive Space Office at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., under a $50 million contract. The satellite can accommodate a variety of payloads, including communications, missile warning, radar imaging, and weather. It can operate in low- and medium-Earth and geosynchronous orbits, and can be mounted on several types of launch vehicles, including the Minotaur I and IV as well as the Falcon 9 and Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.
Plug and play interfaces allow satellite payloads to be fully checked out before integration, using common test equipment. They also enable last-minute changes to payloads and bus components, while flexible power systems let users add or remove batteries and solar arrays without having the modify the basic hardware.
"Because MSV is the first to implement space plug-and-play standards with simplified, standard hardware and software interfaces, the bus is loaded with flexibility," said Doug Young, vice president of missile defense and advanced missions at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems. "MSV provides ways for future development of rapid response space capabilities that will be timely, cost-efficient and flexible."