Northrop Grumman has delivered the spacecraft bus of a future navigation satellite being built by L3Harris Technologies for the U.S. Space Force to help the service branch in reducing interference to position, navigation and timing capabilities.
Air Force Research Laboratory said Thursday the ESPAStar-D bus is designed to provide communications, critical subsystems and payload-mounting structures for the Navigation Technology Satellite-3, which is planned to boost resiliency in support of the military, civil and commercial users of the Space Force GPS.
The bus, which Northrop built in Arizona, uses an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Secondary Payload Adapter to fit multiple payloads on one rocket.
“The transfer of the bus allows L3Harris to move forward building the NTS-3 spacecraft,” said 2nd Lt. Charles Schramka, the deputy principal investigator for the NTS-3 program.
He said L3Harris will conduct tests and integrate NTS-3’s PNT payload with the bus.
The future navigation satellite is scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station to geosynchronous orbit in 2023.