Long-Term Storage of the Solar Arrays for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) 5D3 Spacecraft
AEROSPACE CORP EL SEGUNDO CA LAB OPERATIONS
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Lockheed Martin built the United States Air Forces DMSP 5D-3 Spacecraft. The satellite was designed for a mission that consists of two years of ground storage and 45 days of prelaunch checkout, followed by 3-12 years of operational life. The 5D-3 spacecraft will operate in a circular, sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination of 98.7 deg at an altitude of 458 nmi. The build of five 5D-3 spacecraft was completed in 1997. The first 5D-3 satellite, designated F-16, was launched on October 18, 2003 after six years of storage. The next 5D-3 DMSP, designated F-17, is scheduled to be launched in 2006. The remaining three satellites will be launched roughly every two years to maintain the two-satellite DMSP constellation. The final DMSP satellite may not be launched until 2012, after 16 years of storage Thus, the Air Force is concerned about the age of the DMSP spacecraft hardware and possible age-related degradation of the hardware. This report examines how well the solar arrays for the 5D-3 spacecraft withstood the extended storage at the Lockheed Martin plant located in Sunnyvale California.
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