USAF’s multi-manifest satellite vehicle to join AEHF-6 mission

The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Launch Enterprise Mission Manifest Office delivered a fully tested and integrated multi-manifest small satellite vehicle, known as TDO-2, to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station March 6 for integration on the Advance Extremely High Frequency (AEHF)-6 mission, the U.S. Air Force announced March 10.

AEHF-6, slated for liftoff aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket, will mark the final satellite in the AEHF constellation, and the first launch for the newly formed U.S. Space Force.

TDO-2 is the alpha numeric name of the multi-manifest small satellite vehicle flying with the AEHF-6 mission, is carrying multiple U.S. Government payloads that will provide optical calibration capabilities, which will support space domain awareness. The mission of TDO-2 is to support space domain awareness through optical calibration and satellite laser ranging. This capability will assist the nation’s warfighters in performing their critical missions. TDO-2 was manufactured by Georgia Institute of Technology and sponsored by Air Force Research Laboratory.

The payload is integrated on the aft-end of the Centaur upper stage where it will deploy the TDO-2 multi-manifest satellite vehicle approximately 31 minutes after launch. TDO-2 will deploy after the second main engine cut off (MECO 2) and prior to the anchor AEHF satellite, which is only the second time this event has occurred during a National Security Space Launch mission. Previously a hosted payload was deployed prior to AEHF-5 successfully separating.

The MMO is increasing space warfighting domain flexibility by enabling the “swap-out” capability of multi-manifest satellites late in the integration process. The AEHF-6 mission will demonstrate this “swap-out” capability by having two qualified and compatible multi-manifest satellites vehicles ready to be substituted, if needed, as late as one month prior to launch. Considering the historical integration timeline for traditional satellites is approximately 24 months, this is just another example of how SMC is driving integration flexibility and responsiveness into the National Security Space planning process and rapidly delivering capability to the warfighter.

Part of SMC’s Launch Enterprise, the MMO is blazing the way for innovation in the space warfighting domain and continuing the SMC tradition of innovation in space.

Source: U.S. Air Force