Space Systems Command has transported the Northrop Grumman-built long-duration propulsive-evolved expendable launch vehicle secondary payload adapter to Astrotech Space Operations’ processing facility in Florida in preparation for the U.S. Space Force-67 launch mission in 2023.
The LDPE-3A satellite bus will launch aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket and will carry multiple experimental and prototype payloads designed to provide space domain awareness, advance space hazard detection capabilities and enhance on-orbit threat assessment, SSC said Monday.
LDPE-3A is the third mission scheduled to launch as part of the LDPE series, following LDPE-1, which launched in December aboard the Space Test Program-3 mission, and LDPE-2, which lifted off from Kennedy Space Center in support of the USSF-44 mission on Nov. 1.
Northrop inherited the LDPE-3A development contract through its $9.2 billion acquisition of Orbital ATK in 2018.
The Air Force selected Orbital ATK to produce the spacecraft in December 2017.