19 July 2012
Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. will integrate the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) to fly aboard the STPSat-3 spacecraft built for the US Air Force (USAF). A cooperative agreement between National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the USAF will allow the TIM instrument to catch a ride on STPSat-3 to be launched in 2013.
This instrument was originally intended to fly as a space shuttle Hitchhiker payload as part of the University of Colorado, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP's) Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) program. The TIM Hitchhiker instrument will measure the Sun's net energy output or total solar irradiance (TSI), continuing a 35-year climate data record that is a key component in understanding the Earth climate system.
The 2013 flight provides a continuity of measurements between the currently flying NASA SORCE program launched in January 2003 and the Total and Spectral Solar Irradiance Sensor (TSIS) mission that is now part of NOAA's Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) program. Along with TSIS, the JPSS program incorporates a broad set of critical weather and climate measurements and includes the US's next state-of-the-art civil polar weather satellite, JPSS-1, also being built by Ball Aerospace in preparation for a 2017 launch.
The TIM instrument will be one of five payloads on board the USAF STPSat-3 spacecraft when it launches aboard a Minotaur I launch system in 2013. The launch will be part of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS-3) enabler launch mission.
The USAF's Space Test Program's Standard Interface Vehicle (STP-SIV) series of satellites built by Ball Aerospace prove the concept of standard interface vehicles for the USAF Space and Missile Systems Centre, Space Development & Test Directorate (SMC/SD). The first in the series, STPSat-2, launched on 19 November 2010. The STP-SIV standard interface supports a variety of experimental and risk reduction payloads at different low-Earth orbits and is compatible with multiple launch vehicles.
Ball Aerospace supports critical missions for national agencies such as the US Department of Defense (DOD), NASA, NOAA and other US government and commercial entities. The company develops and manufactures spacecraft, advanced instruments and sensors, components, data exploitation systems and radio-frequency (RF) solutions for strategic, tactical and scientific applications.