Wed, May 09, 2012
SHERPA Designed to Deploy Small And Secondary Payloads
Commercial space company Spaceflight on Monday unveiled its SHERPA in-space tug, which is dedicated to hosting and deploying small and secondary payloads.
"SHERPA is the next step in providing space access for small and secondary payloads," said Jason Andrews, President and CEO of Spaceflight Inc. "SHERPA builds on our Spaceflight Secondary Payload System (SSPS) by incorporating a propulsion and power generation system to allow us to host payloads, as well as place them in an orbit other than the primary payload's orbit."
SHERPA is a three-axis stabilized platform with over 400 meters per second of on-orbit maneuvering capability. SHERPA can provide over 100 Watts of power to hosted or secondary payloads and can be upgraded to meet specific customer power, propulsion and pointing requirements. Spaceflight has been working with its sister company, Andrews Space (Andrews), since 2010 to develop the SSPS and SHERPA family to meet its business requirements. Andrews will fabricate the SSPS and SHERPA at its recently expanded facility in Tukwila, WA.
"We've seen strong demand for our SSPS and secondary payload launch services," continued Andrews. "However, one of the limitations has been that a portion of the secondary payload market requires going to a different altitude than that of the primary payload. SHERPA is designed to address this requirement, as well as expand our offering of services to include hosted payloads."
Spaceflight's first demonstration mission of SHERPA will occur in early 2014, with the first commercial mission scheduled for late 2014. Both missions are planned for launches to sun synchronous orbits on SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets. "We strongly believe in the utility of small satellites and support Spaceflight's efforts to nurture this emerging market segment," said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX.
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