General Atomics Preps Orbital Test Bed Satellite for First Launch

Jeff Brody

General Atomics has moved to final preparations for the first launch of its Orbital Test Bed satellite aboard the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 

GA’s Electromagnetic Systems business has started integrating the spacecraft into the launch vehicle as part of the U.S. Air Force’s Space Technology Program 2, the company said Monday

Nick Bucci, vice president of missile defense and space systems at GA-EMS, said OTB is designed with modularity and versatility for launches of multiple payloads into orbit on a single satellite. 

“This eliminates the need for customers to bear the costly burden of a dedicated platform and launch,” he added. 

The payloads aboard the satellite include NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock for deep space navigation and exploration, a solar array from the Air Force Research Laboratory, a next generation radiation effects monitor and the FlexRX programmable satellite receiver. 

GA-EMS holds contracts to deploy two additional OTB satellites in 2021 and 2022.

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