Technology Demonstration

SNC’s Space Systems builds platforms suited for technology demonstration missions, able to host a variety of technology packages and demonstration payloads. As an example our TacSat-2 spacecraft, based on our SN-200 bus platform, carried 14 on-board experiments and technology demonstration payloads, including a common data link, a thin-film solar array demonstration, an integrated GPS occultation receiver and a Hall Effect Thruster (HET) demonstration. Additionally, our CHIPSat spacecraft was the first in-space demonstration completed using transmission control protocol and internet protocols for satellite command and control.


Trailblazer Program: The Trailblazer spacecraft was delivered by SNC in just 4 months, demonstrating our ability to meet rapid launch call-up and delivery requirements.

Trailblazer was an 80 kg class satellite built for the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office as part of the ORS Jumpstart Program. This program demonstrated responsive call-up and launch of a satellite on Flight 003 of the SpaceX Falcon 1 launch vehicle. SNC was responsible for the Trailblazer spacecraft design, assembly, Assembly Integration and Test (AI&T), and delivery which was accomplished in just four months. The satellite successfully completed all pre-flight testing both in the U.S. and after arriving at the Reagan Test Site in Kwajalein. However, as a result of a launch vehicle anomaly the satellite did not achieve orbit.

The Trailblazer program highlights our emphasis on maintaining a close, collaborative relationship with our customers. The program's extremely rapid schedule (four month duration) was achievable only by direct daily customer interaction and teamwork. Efficient intra-team communication enabled quick assessment and resolution of any day-to-day issues and allowed the spacecraft build, test and launch phases to proceed on schedule.

Modular Space Vehicle (MSV)

MMSV-derived Bus Platform (SAR Variant). The Multi-Mission Modular Vehicle design is the basis for the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) flexible bus architecture, shown here with a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload. Demonstrated modularity enables rapid reconfiguration for a variety of EO/IR and RF mission applications.

SNC was selected by the Air Force Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) office as the prime contractor for Multi-Mission RF Payload for the MSV program which, in its first instantiation served as a Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). SNC developed the SAR payload design before other ORS priorities resulted in program cancellation. As a precursor to this program activity, SNC developed the Multi-Mission Space Vehicle (MMSV) modular bus architecture for ORS. This modular, flexible and scalable bus architecture and design formed the basis for the follow-on ORS MSV bus requirements. These attributes are incorporated into our current satellite offerings. This and other SNC spacecraft can be accessed through an existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract that allows for rapid procurement of both spacecraft and payloads.