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Sun, Dec 25, 2016

Altair Pathfinder Spacecraft Shipped To Commercial Launch Integrator

Pre-Production Technology Demonstrator Paves The Way For Affordable High-Performance Satellite Constellations

Millennium Space Systems has completed the development of and shipped its first Altair satellite, a pre-production pathfinder spacecraft designed to demonstrate advanced avionics, guidance & control, additive manufacturing, power systems, RF communications and onboard processing technologies. Altair Pathfinder will be launched on an International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission, currently on the manifest in March 2017 from Cape Canaveral.

Launch services are provided by NanoRacks LLC, located in Houston near NASA's Johnson Space Center. Jimmy Downs, chief engineer for the satellite stated, "Altair Pathfinder represents the company's continuing commitment to its National Security Space and NASA customers through our continual IR&D investments targeted at de-risking our mainline customer missions. It also exemplifies the agility and dependability of our people, products and processes to develop and deliver disruptive, highly capable space systems as Altair Pathfinder took less than 12 months from program inception to final ship date. Special thanks go to our NanoRacks launch provider–they've been nothing short of being responsive and helpful every step of the way since we signed the launch services agreement earlier this year." Once onboard the ISS, Altair Pathfinder will be released by U.S. astronauts within 30 to 60 days.

Altair Pathfinder was created to demonstrate next-generation hardware and software technologies to realize new mission capabilities previously thwarted by excessive cost, schedule and/or technology unavailability. Many of these technologies successfully transitioned from the company's work for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the SeeMe Program.

"This flight qualification of our Altair spacecraft represents a key milestone in providing low-risk and very high-platform performance coupled with affordability as the company transitions to full-scale manufacturing of our Altair product line and anticipated Altair constellations," said Paul Swanson, Millennium Space's LEO constellations program manager.

"Our manufacturing and production plan is in place to deliver hundreds of these vehicles each year. We have taken great measures to ensure that our spacecraft will work as designed through a series of environmental and functional tests culminating in our Pre-Ship Readiness Review and decision to ship the vehicle this week. As we transition to high-volume production of these vehicles in our state-of-the-art spacecraft factory, Altair provides the underpinnings to support resiliency, affordability, persistence and high-tech refresh, thereby enabling tailored constellations fielded quickly, effectively and affordably."

"NanoRacks is pleased to be working with Millennium Space Systems on this pathfinder mission. Technology and mission demonstrations for advanced research and development can bring big benefits to the Department of Defense, NASA and other government agencies," NanoRacks CEO Jeffrey Manber said. "NanoRacks' responsive, low-cost access to space allows customers to test and evaluate new technologies quickly."

NanoRacks was conceived to bring together low-cost services, standardization of hardware and understanding the customer, and is committed to helping stimulate the market demand across all orbiting platforms by creating a commercial climate conducive to allowing new users, from students to researchers and from government space agencies to individuals, to conduct research, design experiments, tinker, make mistakes and maybe realize wonderful breakthroughs in low-earth orbit and beyond.

(Image provided with Millennium Space Systems news release)

FMI: www.millennium-space.com.

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