Integration and Testing Challenges of the Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Phase III Bus Standards Prototype
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On 25 April 2008 the Operationally Responsive Space ORS Phase III Bus Prototype spacecraft, being used for the TacSat-4 mission, was successfully bought off by the Director of Defense Research and Engineering DDRE, formerly the Office of Force Transformation, the sponsor of this major third phase of the four-phase Standard Bus Initiative. On 30 May 2008 the flight lithium-ion battery was formally delivered. These two events officially marked the completion of the prototype Bus and delivery to the TacSat-4 program. The objective of the Office of the Secretary of Defenses ORS Standard Bus Initiative is to develop and test bus standards and then transition them for acquisition. Ideally, one or two different types of spacecraft buses will support a variety of interchangeable payloads, to achieve the ORS goal of rapid integration, launch, and deployment of satellites in response to emerging needs. To achieve the modularity and responsiveness envisioned for an ORS system, standardized interfaces between, and potentially within, the buses, payloads, and boosters have to be developed and verified. This article presents the challenges of performing spacecraft electrical, mechanical, and system integration and testing IT to develop and mature ORS bus standards in the absence of a payload.