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Satnews Daily
June 25th, 2019

General Atomics' OTB Satellite Placed into Orbit by SpaceX Falcon Heavy

The General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) Orbital Test Bed (OTB) satellite was successfully launched on-board the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Cape Canaveral.

OTB was then successfully deployed into orbit after launch and communication was established between the spacecraft and ground operations to begin satellite commissioning and operations.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed Successfully Launched On Board SpaceX Falcon Heavy.

The launch, sponsored by the U.S. Air Force’s Space Technology Program 2 (STP-2), is delivering 25 separate satellites to various orbits around Earth. The multiple hosted payloads launched on GA-EMS’ OTB spacecraft include: NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s Deep Space Atomic Clock, designed and built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to support deep space navigation and exploration; a Modular Solar Array developed for the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL); an Integrated Miniaturized Electrostatic Analyzer sensor payload developed by cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy; the RadMon next generation radiation effects monitor; the FlexRX programmable satellite receiver; and Celestis cremains.

OTB’s modularity and versatility allows for the simultaneous launch of multiple demonstration payloads on a single satellite.  This eliminates the need for customers to bear the costly burden of a dedicated platform and launch.

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems Orbital Test Bed (OTB) Satellite.

Scott Forney, President of GA-EMS, said this first OTB launch marks an exciting beginning for the company and the firm's multiple payload customers. GA-EMS is extremely proud of the team, whose tremendous efforts over the past few years have culminated in this successful launch. GA-EMS has successfully initiated the post-launch commissioning activities and the start of payload mission operations.

Nick Bucci, VP of Missile Defense and Space Systems, added that establishing the proper orbit, communications and control is the first critical post launch step for the hosted payload customers.